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Winners announced for the Young Organic Farmer/Grower of the Year Award 2024

By 2 July 2024No Comments

The Organic Research Centre (ORC) has revealed the winners of the Young Organic Farmer/ Grower of the Year Award 2024.

The winners are:

  • Adam Beer and Rita Oldenbourg: head growers at Pitney Farm Market Garden in Somerset
  • Chris Gospel: Auchmacleddie, Aberdeenshire – mixed farm producing organic cold-pressed rapeseed oil and beef

The award highlights the achievements of young organic farmers and growers who are passionate about implementing organic principles and were chosen by a panel of independent industry experts.

Explaining their choices, the judges said: “Adam and Rita stood out for their exceptional standard of growing and innovation, producing great quality vegetables for the local community. They put into practice the organic principles and run a very successful, well-established business, employing several staff on a remarkably small area of land.

“Equally, Chris was notable for his very high standard of organic farming, running a traditional beef, sheep and arable system alongside novel crops, sometimes intersown, and processing of organic rape seed oil, branded as ÒR-ganic and sold in certain specialist shops. Animal welfare is a high priority, biodiversity is well integrated into the farming system and he provides a great opportunity for students and others to learn from his experiences.”

Adam & Rita

Winners Adam Beer and Rita Oldenbourg said: “It’s a privilege to receive this award, and great that this recognition exists to celebrate the work organic farmers do to improve soil health and ecology whilst producing quality nutritious food. We feel very lucky to be part of such a supportive community who are so happy to share ideas and their knowledge so freely. Part of what we love about producing food organically is the ability to experiment, learn and innovate. This award will give us the confidence to continue experimenting and developing our systems to improve our farms’ resilience and positive impact in the face of climate change and an uncertain future. We wouldn’t have made it this far without our brilliantly supportive customers and the hard work of the people who have worked with us over the years.”

Chris Gospel

Winner Chris Gospel said: “It is a great honour to win Young Organic Farmer of the Year and to be recognised for utilising intercropping and a diverse crop rotation, alongside my cattle and sheep enterprises. This enables me to reliably, viably and sustainably deliver good quality organic produce. I am a proud advocate of organic farming and firmly believe that we should be preserving our soils and promoting biodiversity to enable future generations to continue farming.”

The winners were announced at the National Organic Conference (NOC) on 2nd July 2024 held in Kingsclere Estates, Hampshire and organised by the Organic Farmers and Growers. Each winner will receive a prize of £1,500.

Lucy MacLennan, ORC’s CEO, said: “This is the third year we have run the YOFGY Award and we continue to be encouraged by the quality of entrants who are tirelessly dedicated to organic farming practices. It not only recognises individual achievements but also inspires a collective movement towards a healthier, more environmentally conscious future. We are so proud of our shortlisted finalists and winners for the difference that they are making.”

Roger Kerr, CEO of OF&G added: “We are very pleased to be hosting the YOFGY Award ceremony. NOC provides a platform for the organic community to come together to meet, share, discuss, and demonstrate organic food and farming in action. This year, we are thrilled to have two winners, honouring two growers and a farmer whose exceptional work deserves recognition. What better way to celebrate our community than by highlighting these remarkable individuals and the contributions they have made to organic farming”.