History of NRFC

Inspired by Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC), NRFC was intended to provide a meeting place specifically for the needs and interests of farmers, growers and food system stakeholders from across the North of England (and originally, Scotland).

Due to Covid-19, the first conference was held online in the autumn of 2020. It was a huge success with over 500 attendees choosing from over 65 sessions across the two-week period and several new projects emerging from the networking opportunities. With Covid waning in 2021, two separate events were held as a follow-up, consisting of an online conference and an in-person event in Lancaster, reaching around 300 people.

Rather than focusing on a big annual event, 2022 saw the NRFC team trialling a different approach to engagement. With support from the World Wildlife Fund, a new project was launched to make video content from the online conferences more accessible and useful to a wider audience This resulted in over 5,200 views on the original FoodFutures Youtube channel and over 5,000 views on a new dedicated NRFC YouTube channel

In parallel with promoting the online content, NRFC also worked hard to reach an offline audience, connecting with farmers via auction marts and articles in over 19 parish magazines and attending and hosting events in the North of England with a regenerative farming focus. 

In 2023, NRFC launched a collaborative review process to reflect on the learning from three years of work and refine the core vision, mission and work of the NRFC so that its actions could be most effective going forwards. The result led to the development of a new Strategy and the identification of six key action areas which guide our work today. As a result of this work, we have moved from focusing on an annual conference, to coordinating spaces and collaborative work around the northern strategy.