2018 Conference Speakers

The 2018 FARMA Conference brings together a great range of speakers addressing topics of the moment to challenge and inspire farm retailers. 



Tuesday 27 February

Main Conference Room

Susie Emmett

09.30 – 09.35         Conference Welcome

Susie is an experienced conference host, she will be introducing the speakers, managing the Q&A sessions and summing up the proceedings. 


Milly Stokes - FARMA Chairman

09.35 – 09.40         FARMA welcome 

Milly runs Farndon Fields Farm Shop in Market Harborough and is your FARMA Chairman.


Andrew Thornton - Thornton's Budgens

09.40 – 10.10         Growing people to full potential to differentiate yourself

Andrew Thornton is an entrepreneur, the owner of Thornton’s Budgens (a supermarket in North London) and the founder of Heart in Business Limited. Andrew has over 20 years experience speaking in Europe and the US on Food Retailing. He speaks passionately about how he runs Thornton’s Budgens and his journey from profit focused entrepreneur to heartful business leader. He talks about his changed approach to running businesses and how being more heartful is actually better business. His story is insightful and entertaining, a real life practical example of how a leader and a business can change. 


Judy Bell OBE - DeliciouslYorkshire & Shepherds Purse

10.10 – 10.40          Championing regional food & building the Shepherds Purse brand

Founder & CEO of Shepherds Purse Cheeses Ltd – a family run business, supplying all the major supermarkets, independent retailers as well as some of the most prestigious restaurants, regionally and nationally.
Judy is Chair of Deliciouslyorkshire an independent membership organisation whose mission is to make Yorkshire food and drink the consumers first choice. Judy first became involved in the ‘Yorkshire Pantry’, the pre-cursor to Deliciouslyorkshire, during the very early days of setting up Shepherds Purse and found it to be a lifeline for start-up businesses – her business benefitted tremendously from their membership. She has been a Board member of Deliciouslyorkshire on and off since 1989.


Staurt Beare - Tulleys Farm

11.20 – 11.50           Driving online sales at Tulleys Farm

Tulleys started as a PYO farm over 50 years ago and has now gone back to its roots with a PYO pumpkin site. Famous for their Halloween events, Christmas is growing rapidly with online tickets now accounting for the vast majority of sales.


Nicky Hyde - Cannon Hall Farm

11.50 – 12.20           Facebook Live & more

Nicky Hyde is marketing manager at Cannon Hall Farm. Nicky has 12 years’ experience as an award winning print journalist, and spent three years as news editor on magazines in areas as varied as fashion and hospitality. Six years ago she built an online news organisation with a difference - We Are Barnsley, one of the biggest news brands in the area, which has now launched as a print newspaper. Nicky specialises in digital media marketing with an expertise in audience building and - previous to life on the farm - spent several years as a consultant, advising companies on how to overhaul their social media practices to get the best results.


Heather Copley - Farmer Copleys
12.20 – 12.50           Farmer Copleys branding & social media

Farmer Copleys was started 15 years ago by husband and wife team, Robert & Heather Copley. The business has grown from just 2 to 65 team members (36 to 65 in last 12 months), with the latest expansion. Farmer Copleys has endeavoured to take the retail experience out onto the farm with numerous events throughout the year, from Strawberry Picking, Vintage Tractor Rallies, a Corn Maze and The Pumpkin Festival. The farm is also the only grower of liquorice in the UK, this is just one example of quirky thinking that seems to be working well for the Copleys. Social Media and branding has played a massive role in the businesses development, the recent expansion has seen their latest brand development, and Facebook followers are nearly at 50,000.


James Bate - Amazon

14.20 – 14.50           Amazon current initiatives in the food market

James Bate joined Amazon in 2013 and is Category Leader, Grocery, Beers, Wines, Spirits and Amazon Pantry channel.
Prior to Amazon James worked for Unilever in various roles including head of E-retail at Unilever UK and latterly as Customer Operation Director Unilever France where he was responsible for building the people and process capabilities of Customer Development in France. Key responsibilities included annual negotiation strategy, promotional investment strategy, Trade Terms optimisation, monthly forecast and planning, annual business planning, on-shelf availability and departmental training.


James Sinclair - Entrepreneurs Network
15.10 – 15.40           The experience business

Having started his business as a self-employed children’s entertainer straight out of school at age 15, James Sinclair has gone on to build a business empire spanning industries including entertainment, leisure, recruitment and business training. 17 years later, that same start-up has transformed into the Partyman Group, one of the largest entertainments businesses in the UK, with over 350 staff and £10 million turnover across seven businesses and over 20 sites in the UK including Marsh Farm, a 30-acre park attraction in South Woodham Ferrers. Having achieved success at a young age, James soon found himself in demand as a business speaker, with dozens of requests for help from business owners keen to understand how James had transformed himself from teenage party entertainer into hugely respected business owner. James has gone on to write two business books, and co-found Entrepreneurs Network, a membership based organisation offering affordable business coaching to entrepreneurs to help them to improve their businesses.


Farm Shop Manager’s & Catering Manager's Workshops

“Sales Growth, Simple Processes, Smarter Working”.

Key areas of focus for these two workshops will be;
• Measuring & Tracking Key Business Performance
• Achieving Sales Growth By Following The Customer
• Great Stock Processes And Improving Availability
• Managing Range & Merchandising To Sell
• Inspiring Great Performance

Harriet Forster

11.20 – 12.10           How to run a really fabulously successful coffee shop

Harriet has spent the last 16 years on an impressive career trajectory at Costa Coffee, joining the UK’s favourite coffee shop brand as a team member aged 17 and working her way up to her most recent role as Senior HR Business Partner, leading a team supporting 600 sites and 7000 employees. Her career has woven between operational and HR roles including training, operations, area management, retail development and HR generalist roles. 


Ian Kelsall

12.10 – 13.00           Golden Rules of running a Highly profitable food retail business.

Ian was a Tesco top manager, running one of their largest Tesco Extras in Staffordshire. He is an experienced leader who is passionate about inspiring colleagues to deliver operational improvement and exceptional levels of service to improve the overall customer experience. He has worked across many sectors (major grocery multiples, fashion & general merchandise, healthcare & pharmacy, fuel & convenience), in the UK and Europe, with a great understanding of the changing landscape for UK consumers.


Farmers’ Market Workshop

Ian Kelsall

11.20 – 11.50           Merchandising Farmers Market stalls

How a great display will develop signposting without signage
How to manage selling space more effectively
How to merchandise to sell more product
How to make merchandise "Easy to see, easy to reach"
How to develop a good process to maintain great displays



11.50 – 12.20           Farmers Market Certification - NSF

Working alongside FARMA, NSF have developed the Farmer's Market Certification scheme. NSF provides accredited inspection and certification services to all the major assurance schemes including Red Tractor, GLOBALG.A.P. and other GFSI benchmarked standards. The Farmers' Market certification has been piloted and is now ready to be launched.

12.20 – 13.00           What markets need from FARMA - debate

Discussion led by the Farmers' Market representatives on FARMA Council.




Please book your tickets as soon as possible. After 19 February FARMA will be increasing the price of all tickets by 15%.