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

Innovative Farmers

Contract period:

12 October 2015 to 1 October 2016

Project webpage:


Main funder:

The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation

Contact staff at ORC:

Mr. Phil Sumption

Other staff involved:

Bruce Pearce, Susanne Padel, Anja Vieweger, Konstantinas Zaralis, Sally Westaway, Mark Measures

Project aims

Innovative Farmers is a not-for-profit network that gives farmers research support and funding on their own terms. Many of the best ideas in farming come from farmers. But most research happens off-farm. Innovative Farmers changes that. It helps farmers to find lasting solutions to practical problems, from managing weeds and pests with fewer chemicals to testing more sustainable animal feeds so they can grow better food, cut waste and pollution, and protect their farm from volatility.

Innovative Farmers recognises that many of the best ideas in farming come from farmers. They trial, test and analyse, often in isolation. The not-for-profit network matches farmer groups with some of the UK’s best research teams, including Rothamsted Research, IBERS and Harper Adams. It provides professional support, a web portal where groups share their learning, and access to a dedicated research fund. The partners aim to award more than £800,000 to farmer groups by 2020, allowing farmers to investigate techniques that will really make a difference on the ground. The network will also help groups apply to the new European Innovation Partnership, unlocking further funding.

ORC's role

  • Field labs to supporting organisations. ORC will contribute researchers and facilitators to ongoing field labs established during the first phase of the Duchy Future Farming Programme and involving ORC, until those are complete and then organise and support field labs for groups of farmers or growers from supporting organisations
  • Match-making. ORC will identify researchers to support groups of Innovative Farmers
  • Contribute to advocacy & communications.ORC can represent Innovative Farmers at relevant external events, and will communicate about Innovative Farmers through ORC’s communications channels.

Project leader and partners

The current research partners are: ADAS; Duchy College; the Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience at Coventry University; the Food Security & Land Research Alliance; IBERS; Harper Adams University; Rothamsted Research; and the University of Bristol.

Previous relevant work

Duchy Future Farming Programme (2012-2015)

All sources of funding

A list of all funders to The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation is available online.

Innovative Farmers is sponsored by Produce World Group and Anglia Farmers. It is supported by the The Farmer Network, the Pasture Fed Livestock Association and the Organic Growers Alliance.