Soil Association 2013 Conference now open for bookings

22 August 2013

The Soil Association 2013 Conference aims to be at the cutting edge in showcasing solutions and exploring new approaches to the environmental and public health challenges of our day. Bringing together high profile speakers and practical people from a range of backgrounds to share and inspire best practice, discuss novel approaches, raise new questions and champion ways to feed this generation and the next healthily and humanely, the Soil Association conference will take place on 9-10 October at Central Hall in Westminster.

Food, and how we produce it, is an entry point into people’s lives, health and understanding of our connection with the natural world, as well as being critically important in its own right. The conference will show how we can change food culture in schools, cities and communities, so that ‘good food for all’ can become the norm. It will also highlight grassroots innovation in farming, growing and land use, to lift the productivity, environmental and welfare performance of organic and ecological agriculture and explore what can be learnt from social innovation in other sectors like health or education.

Day one will be hosted by Soil Association President Monty Don. Leading experts on health and food policy include Kevin Fenton, director of health improvement at Public Health England who will focus on how the new Health and Wellbeing Boards in England can drive local action on food skills, food procurement and food poverty; Myles Bremner, director of the recently launched School Food Plan and Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health. Day two will be chaired by BBC Radio 4 Farming Today’s Charlotte Smith. Keynote speakers include Prof Tim Benton, champion for the UK Global Food Security Programme, Prof Norman Uphoff from International Agriculture at Cornell University and Ed Dowding, the founder of

Helen Browning, chief executive of the Soil Association said; “Our conference brings together the twin challenges of our day - enabling everyone, everywhere access to healthy food and the pressure on resources such as land, water, wildlife and soil. With some brilliant people showing what is possible if we work constructively and creatively, we will hear from practical programmes having great impact and explore new frontiers too. Many of our speakers will provoke us to think anew about what an ecological, organic future could look like, and how we may need to work differently to deliver a fair, healthy legacy for our children. I am most excited, and nervous, about the Innovation Awards; with over 20 teams pitching for votes on day two, it should be quite a buzz!”

Nicholas Saphir, Executive Chairman of OMSCo (the Organic Milk Suppliers Co-Operative) said; “OMSCo are delighted to be supporting this year’s conference. It provides a valuable forum for discussion and a showcase for the amazing work being undertaken by organic producers and farmers.”

The Soil Association’s Annual General Meeting session will take place at close of the first day of the conference at 4.30pm. This session is free for members to attend if not attending the conference earlier that day, and Monty Don will give the keynote address. The first day will end with a drinks reception and supper provided by our farmers and growers ‘slow/street’ food style. Several ticket combinations possible, including day tickets and dinner only. More
information and to booking. 

Day One is supported by the Big Lottery Fund’s Well-being programme.
Day two is supported by The Organic Milk Cooperative OMSCO.
The Innovation Award, to be announced on day two is supported by Nesta.


For press enquiries please contact:

Natasha Collins-Daniel, Press Office Manager – 0117 914 2448 / 07827 925380
Holly Black, Digital Communications and Press Officer – 0117 314 5170

Notes to editors

The Soil Association

The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by farmers, scientists, doctors and nutritionists to promote the connection between the health of the soil, food, animals, people and the environment. Today the Soil Association is the UK's leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use. To find out more visit

Big Lottery Fund’s Well-being Programme 
Developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and access to preventative health services has become more important over the last few years, especially in the wake of growing obesity levels and the increase of mental health conditions such as stress, depression and anxiety. The Big Lottery Fund’s Well-being programme aims to support the development of healthier lifestyles and to improve well-being. The programme focuses on three strands: mental health, healthy eating, and physical activity and the Food for Life Partnership received £3.6 million of grant funding from them in July 2013 to support the continued development of the programme.

OMSCo was formed in 1994 when five like-minded organic dairy farmers joined forces to sell their organic milk. Now with over 200 members OMSCo is the largest and longest established UK organic milk supplier. Member farms collectively employ around 1000 people (419 direct employees and around 600 contractors). OMSCo have a milk pool of 275 million litres per year and supply around two thirds of the UK's entire organic milk output, making OMSCo one of the largest organic businesses in the UK.

Nesta is the UK's innovation foundation. We help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. We do this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills. We are an independent charity and our work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery. Nesta Operating Company is a registered charity in England and Wales.

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