Conferences find their origin in the need of people to meet, debate and confront ideas. In a context in which the horizon of discussion constantly responds to profit and private interests other than improving our relationship with the life around us, new expressions are still able to emerge to demonstrate that conferences are still valid. This has been the case of the Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC), started 14 years ago to counter-weight the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) that represents the interest of UK big agri-business.
The ORFC quickly became one of the UK’s leading events on agricultural issues and, for some years now, has shown a strong commitment to including issues related to North-South inequalities and the power of transnational corporations. Its farming concepts, values and practices, foster debates ranging from access to land, food sovereignty, climate justice and biodiversity, through policy change and racial inequity in the food system, to spiritual and ethical issues, knowledge sharing and communications.
This search for a rupture with more agribusiness and corporate-oriented conferences, focused on techniques to maximise yields, crop intensification and high mechanization, has allowed the ORFC to serve as a platform for scientists, economists, activists and legislators to meet with peasant and land workers organisations such as the Land Worker’s Alliance, a member organisation of La Via Campesina working across the United Kingdom, and the European Coordination Via Campesina. Both organisations have participated in previous editions of the ORFC where their members could share their experiences as peasants and rural workers, discuss their relationship with land and other natural resources and share their struggle for Food Sovereignty and peasant rights in a political and economic systems which marginalise and criminalise them. . The ORFC turned to be the annual kick off and major gathering of the movement for food sovereignty in that territory.
Due to the pandemic the ORFC went digital 2021 and 2022. This has opened up the possibility for a greater diversity of attendees and speakers from both the global north and the global south to participate. This year, the ORFC will be held for the first time in a hybrid format with both in-person and online sessions. As part of the online programme, between January 4th and 6th, delegates from different organisations of La Via Campesina (LVC) will contribute with a total of 7 online sessions that will address multiple challenges and perspectives of the global peasant movement. Click here to see the full programme of LVC during the ORFC! All LVC runed sessions will be interpreted in different languages, including English, Spanish and French. A virtual exhibition space has also been opened to give to the participants the opportunity to learn more about LVC and its peasant organisations, especially their proposals and positions towards a radical transformation of food systems based on agroecology, justice and solidarity. Click here to visit La Via Campesina’s virtual exhibition space!
Register now to attend the ORFC and hear the peasant voices of La Via Campesina! You can do it by choosing your ticket option via the conference’s website here.