Upturn in organic sales as Soil Association announces fresh research funding

The Soil Association's Organic September campaign yielded a rise in organic food sales of nearly 9 per cent on the previous month, according to market analyst Nielsen.

It also revealed that the month's sales represented a 2 per cent rise on September 2012's figures, providing a further indication of a gradual recovery in the UK organics market. 

This year's campaign focussed on the independent retail sector, which the Soil Association said "has remained strong throughout the last few years".

It has also announced two new funding competitions to support innovative research in sustainable agriculture, as part of the Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme. 

Up to 15 farmers and growers will receive £500 cash towards their time and costs, and at least £1,500 in-kind support from a researcher and facilitator, to conduct field-scale problem-solving research. 

Researchers can also apply for up to £25,000 for innovative, practical projects suggested by farmers to tackle key challenges for organic and low-input agriculture, including controlling weeds without herbicides.

The deadline for submissions to both competitions is 5 December. 

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