19 January 2021
Intercropping for sustainability

Two-day Conference with AAB, DIVERSify and ReMIX at Reading University

6 September 2021
Organic World Congress 2021

New date! Postponed from September 2020

30 July 2020
ORC welcomes the National Food Strategy

The first major reviewof our food system in 75 years

24 July 2020
The future of organic farming and the environment

All to play for if full benefits of organic farming for wildlife, the environment and health are to be realised

29 April 2020
Tim Bennett is the new Chair of ORC

Former NFU president takes on chairmanship of Organic Research Centre

Return to Trent Lodge

After three months away from Trent Lodge, we will be reopening our office from the 1st July. Although we have not been physically working together, the team have adapted really well to working during the isolation restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are now well adjusted to a video conference driven way of life, which has actually been a much more inclusive way to work especially for those based in different parts of the country or overseas. However now that we have some freedom of movement back again it will be great to have the flexibility to meet as nothing replaces personal interaction especially for those of us who are new to the business, some of whom have yet to meet their colleagues in person.
Lucy MacLennan

New projects at the Organic Research Centre

Organic Plus

Organic Plus is a 4-year EC Horizon 2020-funded project led by the centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) at Coventry University which aims to minimise the use of contentious inputs in certified organic agriculture in Europe. ORC's role will be to map the use of contentious inputs in organic farming and to carry out on-farm trials of dairy heifer growth and health status, using plant-based products. More...


Organic Knowledge Network on Monogastric Animal Feed (OK-NET EcoFeed) is a three-year EU Horizon 2020 project led by the IFOAM-EU Group. It aims to help farmers, breeders and the organic feed processing industry achieve the goal of 100% use of organic and regional feed for monogastrics; in particular pigs, broilers, laying hens and parents of broilers and laying hens. More...

Current projects at the Organic Research Centre

Organic Techniques

This 6-month Defra-funded project led by ORC will see how some of the well-proven farming techniques developed by the organic sector can provide the impetus for mainstream farmers to become more sustainable. Although organic farming accounts for a relatively small proportion of UK food production the sector has emerged as hugely innovative, employing novel solutions to reduce reliance on inputs while maintaining production but with limited resources. As well as considering what can be learnt from organic systems, the project will also assess opportunities, practicalities and barriers for translating best practice management techniques from organic to conventional farms including examining potential impacts on farm incomes, productivity and risks. More...

UK Regulation

The full title of this 6-month Defra-funded project led by ORC is: Reviewing of international approaches to organic regulations and labelling - production, economic and market access implications for UK. With our imminent exit from the EU, the project provides information from which to review our national organic regulations for England and Wales following EU exit. The project will review regulatory approaches controlling organic production and provisions for trade in other countries and summarise their strengths and opportunities. In addition, the project is tasked with exploring the organic labelling used by other countries such as those in USA and Norway. More...


This 'Farm system health in practice' project uses participatory approaches to work with the established network of example farms in the UK, Germany and Austria to jointly develop a set of criteria (a) for farm health measurement and (b) for practical knowledge multiplication. More...

Sustainable economic and ecological grazing systems - learning from innovative practitioners (SEEGSLIP)

The three-year SEEGSLIP project is led by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and funded by the UK’s Global Food Security Programme. It aims to evaluate the ecological, agronomic, economic, environmental and social impacts of the pasture fed livestock approach to grazing management and its potential as the basis of a more sustainable GB-wide system. ORC’s input will focus on the application of the Public Goods Tool on 60 Pasture Fed Livestock farms. More...

Woodchip For Fertile Soils

WOOFS is a new EU-funded EIP Operational Group of researchers, farmers and foresters from the UK. The group is led by ORC and formed to investigate the role of woodchip in soil health, to provide an incentive for farmers to manage woody elements on their farm as part of a whole farm system.. More...


This 4-year EU Horizon 2020-funded project aims to boost organic seed and plant breeding efforts, and increase the availability of cultivars adapted to organic growing conditions. The project will help to establish a level playing field in the organic seed market across Europe, improve the competitiveness of the organic seed and breeding sector, and encourage greater use of organic seeds by farmers. LIVESEED will improve guidelines for cultivar testing and strategies for ensuring seed health. It will develop novel breeding approaches suited for organic farming. The LIVESEED project is coordinated by IFOAM EU and consists of 35 partners from 18 countries. More...


ORC is a partner in a new five year crop diversification project under the EU Horizon 2020 programme, called DiverIMPACTS. The project is led by INRA (France) and aims to realise the full potential of crop diversification through rotation, intercropping and multiple cropping. The work aims to demonstrate clear technical, economic and environmental benefits of crop diversification for farmers, value chains and society. It also aims to provide key tools, strategies and innovations to remove any barriers and ensure uptake of practices and subsequent benefits at farm, value chain and regional levels. More...


Designing innovative plant teams for ecosystem resilience and agricultural sustainability (DIVERSify) is a new 4-year Horizon 2020 project. DIVERSify aims to optimise the performance of crop species mixtures (‘plant teams’) as a means to improve yield stability, reduce pest and disease damage, and enhance stress resilience in agricultural systems.More...

Agroforestry Innovation Networks

Agroforestry Innovation Networks (AFINET) is a new 3-year Horizon 2020 project. AFINET will promote innovation in agroforestry through the development of a network, based on successful sharing of practical experiences and existing research knowledge, applied to different contexts, climates and agricultural sectors. More...

CEreal REnaissance in Rural Europe

CEreal REnaissance in Rural Europe: embedding diversity in organic and low-input food systems (CERERE) is a new 3-year Horizon 2020 project. The project will promote innovation through diversity-based ‘alternative’ cereal food systems in Europe through knowledge exchange and communities of practice adopting a bottom-up approach in multi-actor network. More...

Innovation for Sustainable Sheep and Goat Production in Europe

Innovation for Sustainable Sheep and Goat Production in Europe (iSAGE) is a four year Horizon 2020 project aiming to make the European Sheep and Goat sectors more sustainable, competitive and resilient. These improvements come from strong collaboration between industry and research institutions. More...


Innovative and sustainable intensification of integrated food and non-food systems to develop climate-resilient agro-ecosystems in Europe (SustainFARM). The main objective of SustainFARM is to enhance agronomic, environmental and economic performance of integrated food and non-food production systems (IFNS) by optimizing productivity and valorizing woody components, residual wastes and co-products.More...


Agricology is a new online resource that translates scientific research in to practical advice to help farmers become more profitable and more sustainable, while protecting the environment. www.agricology.co. uk aims to provide farmers with the best practical information on ecological techniques. More...

Innovative Farmers

Innovative Farmers is a not-for-profit network that gives farmers research support and funding on their own terms.The network is part of the Duchy Future Farming Programme, funded by the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation. The Soil Association, Organic Research Centre and Waitrose have been partners in the programme and are now joined by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) and Innovation in Agriculture, ensuring that the new network represents farmers and growers across the industry. More...

Embedding crop diversity and networking for local high quality food systems

ORC is a partner in DIVERSIFOOD a new four-year European project, funded through HORIZON 2020 and led by INRA the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, which will bring together farmers, scientists, processors, traders and consumers to promote the greater use of diverse plants and produce with a local and cultural identity. This will help to demonstrate how society can encourage sustainable agriculture, as well as promoting this concept through production and marketing. The project will work with wheat (einkorn, rivet, emmer, durum and bread wheat), oats, barley, maize, chickpea, beans, lupins, false flax, buckwheat, broccoli, tomato, carrots, onions and chestnuts. More...


The aim of the EU FP7-funded Wheat and barley Legacy for Breeding Improvement (WHEALBI) project is to apply genomic, genetic and agronomic approaches to improve European wheat and barley production in competitive and sustainable cropping systems. These techniques will be used to characterise the diverse genetic resources available (including old cultivars, landraces and wild species) to provide a source of new alleles for; crop improvement, addressing yield tolerance to abiotic stress, resistance to biotic stress, grain quality and adaptation to highly variable environmental conditions. ORC leads a task to identify wheat and barley ideotypes with enhanced performance under organic husbandry. We work in close conjunction with NIAB, who are conducting similar work under different tillage regimes. More...

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