Experts gather for first Marches Real Food and Farming Conference

The first Marches Real Food and Farming Conference will be held at Partridge Farm, Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire on September 15 and 16.

Organised by The Shropshire Good Food Partnership, The Marches Real Food and Farming Conference will bring together local and national scientists, farmers, growers and chefs in a diverse and exciting programme focussed on creating a regenerative and future-proof food and farming system in the region and further afield.

The programme is wide-ranging with panels, talks and discussions featuring among others Chris Smaje (A Small Farm Future), Josiah Meldrum (Hodmedod’s), Niels Corfield (soil health expert), “Regen-Ben” (regenerative farmer) and chef Margot Henderson. Charlotte Hollins, general manager of the Fordhall Community Land Initiative (FCLI) at Fordhall Organic Farm, will also be sharing her knowledge about the Campaign for Community Power, and sustainable and regenerative livestock management.

The conference includes a programme of practical sessions, from seed cleaning, biochar production and compost turning to microscopy. The event is also a chance to make local connections and build partnerships, as well as sample food and drink from local producers.

SGFP founder Jenny Rouquette comments: “There will be opportunity for dialogue and debate, with thought leaders and people from the region involved in all aspects of the food system.

“We’ll be covering topics such as relocalising the food economy, making regenerative agriculture pay and the crucial link between soil, plant and human health. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn, make connections and get involved in what is one of the most important challenges facing our communities and to be part of this exciting event.”

The Marches Real Food and Farming Conference has been inspired by the Oxford Real Farming Conference, now in its 15th year, as “a movement dedicated to transforming food and farming systems”.

Charlotte Hollins said: “As a regular attendee of the Oxford Real Farming Conference, I am delighted to have been invited to join this gathering to share the journey of the Community Power Act so far.

“Following on from my late father, Arthur Hollins’ work, all our livestock at Fordhall are outside year-round on pasture. I will also be joining the discussion surrounding Sustainable Livestock Production with the Pasture for Life Association.

“Conferences like this are important in bringing together those who have a vested interest in the long-term care for our environment, farming systems and local communities.”

The SGFP was established to create a local food system to benefit people, place and planet and brings together representatives of all aspects of the food system, from growers to retailers, food banks, community organisations and councils.

The SGFP is part of the national Sustainable Food Places movement, which brings together pioneering food partnerships from across the UK, driving innovation and best practice on all aspects of a healthy and sustainable food system.


To see the full programme and list of speakers or to book tickets, visit or contact