As this article from last week’s Guardian relates, Oxford recently hosted two parallel but opposing conferences, the Oxford Farming Conference and the Oxford Real Farming Conference. Not unexpectedly, the Guardian is reporting on the latter, a gathering of “small-scale farmers, food campaigners, and the agro-ecology movement”.
The very existence of these two conferences is a fascinating illustration of the divide within the food and agriculture industry between small, organic and local, and big, industrial and global. The tension between these two groups can surely only increase as the targets set at COP21 come into play over the next few years. It will be particularly interesting to watch what happens to the industry in Ireland, where food and agri is the largest indigenous sector.