Organic Research Centre (ORC) has named Norfolk farm manager Alex Parkinson as winner of its Young Organic Farmer/ Grower of the Year (YOFY) Award 2022/23 today (4th July 2023).
Presented at the National Organic Conference (NOC) organised by Organic Farmers and Growers (OF&G) and hosted by Green Acres Farm in Shropshire the award highlights the achievements of young organic farmers and growers who are passionate about implementing organic principles.
Alex Parkinson is a farm manager for RBOrganic (part of Burgess Farms) in Norfolk, one of the largest organic carrot growers in the UK. The judges commented that Alex stood out for his ‘wide vision for organic farming, the way he has learnt on the job, and his influence on larger producers to think organic’. Due to work commitments Alex was presented with his prize of £1,500 and a selection of books on organic and agroecological farming worth over £500 from Chelsea Green Publishing by ORC’s CEO Lucy MacLennan on an earlier date.
Mr Parkinson was represented at NOC by Andrew Burgess, agricultural director for Burgess Farms. Mr Burgess said: “Alex arrived with us as a young man without a farming background and settled in very quickly to the farm. He’s a quick learner, hungry for knowledge and a hard worker with a great personality.
“We’ve just watched him grow and develop over his 10 years with us, taking on more and more responsibility and building his knowledge base. In organic farming – and horticulture in particular – attention to detail is the difference between making it or not, and he has got that.”
Enthusiasm and technical knowledge
Donald Peck chair of ORC’s board of trustees visited Mr Parkinson with the other judges: “What came across was his enthusiasm, technical knowledge – much of it picked up on the job – and willingness to experiment. His success should show how feasible and sensible it is for larger producers to think organic.”
Alex was one of three finalists for the awards, the others being vegetable producers Adam Payne and Dee Butterley from Pembrokeshire, and dairy farmers Sophie and Tom Gregory from Dorset.
Roger Kerr, CEO of OF&G added: “NOC has always aimed to provide a platform for the organic community to come together to meet, share, discuss and demonstrate organic food and farming in action. What better way to celebrate this than through highlighting the work of these young farmers and providing the recognition they so richly deserve.”