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Phil Sumption

At heart I am an organic grower, though I can wear research, advisory or communications hats. Having grown up on a farm in Somerset I went to Wye College (University of London) to read Rural Environment Studies and stumbled across organic farming as a way of combining food production and environmental objectives.  Hooked, I worked and volunteered on several organic farms and gardens before managing the growing at Radford Mill Farm, near Bristol.


After 2 years VSO in Lao PDR for a provincial agricultural department I returned to the UK and worked at HDRA (later Garden Organic) in the research department on field scale veg production, variety trials, genetic resources and more! Simultaneously I converted a walled garden at Cotesbach to organic production and delivered conversion advice under the Organic Conversion Information Service (OCIS). 


I joined the Organic Research Centre in 2013 as Research Communications Officer. I am passionate about organic farming and growing and can’t keep my hands out of the dirt! My career has been about communicating the knowledge generated by research and farmer experience to enable organic growth (puns always intended). 

In 2018 I moved to Germany and in 2019 I went freelance. My experience of practical organic farming and the research and advisory sector, together with writing, editing,  design and media skills mean I am well-placed to produce technical  information for English speaking audiences.

When scrubbed up I enjoy walking, taking photos and following Yeovil Town FC. I am most proud of the Organic Grower, which I  have edited from the beginning and design and produce for the Organic Growers Alliance (OGA).

Recipient of OGA award: Presented at OGA AGM March 2017. The bowl is inscribed - 'To Phil - sower and scribe - from the OGA


2019 - present: Freelance communications

2013-2018: Research Communications Officer, Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm, Hamstead Marshall, UK

2007-present: Editor Organic Grower magazine, OGA, UK

1999-2013: Research Officer, Garden Organic (formerly HDRA)

1996-1998: Voluntary Development Worker (VSO), Champassak Department of Agriculture, Pakse Lao PDR

1989-1996: Organic grower/co-manager Radford Mill Farm, nr Bath

1988-1989: Organic gardener, Inlands House, Chichester, UK

1987-1988: Project worker, CSV Schools Community Involvement Project


2017 - OGA award

2014-2018: Founding board member of The Seed Co-operative (Biodynamic and Organic Plant Breeding and Seeds Limited), the UK's community owned seed company).

2007-2018: Founding committee member, Organic Growers Alliance, UK

2003-2013: Committee member, Mercia Organic Growers




1983-1986: BSc Hons in Rural Environment Studies, Wye College, University of London




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