2019 FRA Conference Review

The Annual Conference and Trade Show is the must attend event of the year. Two days full of farm shop tours, inspirational speakers, fascinating case studies, a great range of trade show exhibitors and networking events.

The winners of the Annual Awards are revealed at the Annual Dinner celebrating the best Farm Shops, Farmers' Markets, Pick Your Own, Cafes & Restaurants and the Associate Member of the Year.


For Trade Show stand bookings and sponsorship opportunities linked to the 2019 conference click here



The Oxford Belfry Hotel, Oxfordshire OX9 2JW

25-27 February 2019



Mon 25 - Wed 27 February 2019

Double Tree by Hilton Oxford Belfry Hotel, Thame OX9 2JW

Conference Highlights

  • Monday 25th - informal networking roving dinner in the centre of Oxford
  • Tuesday 26th - Three amazing retail tours to choose from visiting a range of farm retailers and complimentary business in the region.
  • Tuesday 26th - Annual Dinner & Awards
  • Wednesday 27th - Trade exhibition, meet key industry suppliers, opportunity to build contacts and learn new skills
  • Wednesday 27th - Annual Conference with a great range of speakers, workshop sessions and more. 

Download the conference flyer here


Download the Conference Programme brochure & exhibitor guide here


Conference Agenda

Monday 25 February

7pm Networking Roving Dinner

It was all aboard the coach for a roving dinner in the Centre of Oxford. It was a great opportunity to relax, renew old acquaintances and meet new members. We visited two fantastic Oxford restaurants. 

Turl Street Kitchen

No.1 Ship Street 

Tuesday 26 February

Farm Retail Tours

Three differently themed tour opportunities. Each coach tour was led by a dedicated facilitator to ensure all attendees had an informative day visiting different farm retailers and associated businesses. 

08.00 Depart  - Tour 2: Merchandising Matters

Merchandising was the focus of this tour with the morning at Becketts Farm Shop named BBC Good Food Show’s Best Midlands farm shop, Restaurant, Cookery School & Conference Centre. Then it was on to Bicester Village with presentations from merchandising experts and chance to explore the Village outlets and lunch in the Farmshop Restuarant. The day finished at Daylesford Organics to see the way they farm, merchandise, brand and display.

08.30 Depart - Tour 1: Planning For Growth

Cobbs Farm Shop & Kitchen formed the foundations of what is now a specialist group of half a dozen independent farm shops. The tour started with a visit to the new Cobbs farm shop at Englefield where an unused cow shed is being transformed into a beautiful farm shop and café. Lunch was at Cobbs Hungerford, followed by a visit to Millets Farm Shop one of the UK’s leading farm retailers which first opened over 40 years ago and continues to develop.

09.00 Depart - Tour 3: Millets In Depth

Delegates on this tour spent a full day at Millets exploring how the business has grown to become a diversified retail and leisure destination. Large farm shop, garden centre, restaurant, wedding venue, falconry centre, maize maze, PYO site & more. Millets continue to develop their offering with the new Sprouts Play Barn opening just over a year ago. There were presentations from and behind the scenes tours with Millets' managers.

5.30pm AGM - Exeter Room

Chairman Milly Stokes led the formal part of the day.


7pm Celebration Night Dinner & Awards - Black Tie 


A drinks reception was held among the trade stands followed by a delicious 3 course dinner when the winners of the 2019 FRA awards were announced. A celebration night with entertainment & music. See award winners list here



The host for the evening was presenter and comedian Aaron James. Aaron has hosted events for companies including Virgin Atlantic, BOSCH,Aston Martin, HSBC, I.O.D & Vodaphone. Television appearances on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, C4 Big Breakfast, Only Fools & Horses and on radio shows on Radio 2, Talksport and 5 live. Aaron entertained us with his quick fire jokes and impersenations after the dinner before moving on to host the awards.


Thanks to the drinks reception sponsor Bizerba 

Thanks to Dinner Sponsor Cottage Delight

 Thanks to our wine sponsor Dalziel 




Wednesday 27 February

Conference and Trade Exhibition




Conference Day Programme Wed 27th Feb

08.30-09.20Tea/Coffee chance to visit the trade show 
09.20-09.30Conference WelcomeRobert Copley
09.30– 09.40FRA Chairman's WelcomeMilly Stokes
09.40– 10.20Keynote: Cutting through the noise - with so much noise bombarding consumers how do you ensure that your messaging cuts through and you get noticed?Grant Leboff, Sticky Marketing
10.25– 11.10WORKSHOP Session 1 (45min) 
11.10– 11.50Break tea/coffee served in the trade show 
11.50– 12.35WORKSHOP Session 2 (45 Min) 
12.35– 14.00Lunch served in the trade show 
14.00– 14.45WORKSHOP Session 3 (45min) 
14.50– 15.30Savvy Retail & Shopper TrendsCatherine Shuttleworth
15.30– 15.40Closing RemarksRobert Copley
15.40– 16.30Tea/Coffee final chance to visit the trade show 


Workshops - choose one workshop per session

WORKSHOP Session 1: 10.25-11.10
A: Influencer Marketing - what it is, how to use it and why it matters. How it can drive awareness and footfall - Grant Leboff

B: Delivering a customer experience beyond your wildest dreams - Jonathan Winchester, Insight6

C: Advice and tips on staff recruitment and managing underperforming employees - Led by Abby Janaway from Newlyns farm shop with presentations from Elaine Hamblett HR Manager at Farndon Fields & Ian Kelsall Insight6.

WORKSHOP Session 2 11.50-12.35
A: Content Marketing - with digital channels being so important, every business today has a media element. This workshop explains how to create compelling content, at scale, in order to ensure your digital channels are utilised effectively - Grant Leboff

B: Merchandising, Margins & Manpower, how to increase profits in your retail business - Milly Sokes from Farndon Fields talked about merchandising, Kay Croot from Croots Farm Shop spoke on ways to increase margins and Ian Kelsall Insight6 talked about how to effectively manager your Manpower and staff costs. 

C: The future of packaging. The trend away from plastics impacts Farm shops and Farmers’ markets. But what are the alternatives and just how green are they? - Katie Jonzen, Vegware; Gary Thomas, Switch Packaging; and Catherine Conway, Unpackaged. Facilitated by Bob Taylor, Kent Farmers’ Market Association.

D:  EPOS and mobile payment systems, emerging trends and technologies - Grey Adeyosoye, Sumup; and Owen Gleadall, Merlinsoft. Facilitated by Robert Copley, Farmer Copleys Farm Shop

WORKSHOP Session 3 14.00- 14.45
A:  Findings from the Savvy Shopper Panel of over 1,000 UK shoppers - Catherine Shuttleworth and Alistair Lockhart, Savvy Marketing

B: Delivering a customer experience beyond your wildest dreams. Jonathan Winchester, Insight6

C: The future of packaging. The trend away from plastics impacts Farm shops and Farmers’ markets. But what are the alternatives and just how green are they? - Katie Jonzen, Vegware; Gary Thomas, Switch Packaging; and Catherine Conway, Unpackaged. Facilitated by Bob Taylor, Kent Farmers’ Market Association.

D: How to save money on your energy bills. Ali Carnegie and Sean McCrohan, Total Energy Solutions with case study examples. 

For speaker details click here


Video: 2019 video to come, for now see video from 2018 conference click here


To encourage the next generation of Farm Retailers the FRA board made free places available for the conference day for anyone aged 25 or under. We were delighted to see at 8 young farm retailers take up the offer. 

Trade Show

Over 20 companies exhibited at the Trade Show, each dedicated to the farm retail sector to provide delegates with the latest products and services.

Exhibitors included:

B Smith Packaging
Chirpy Bird Foods
Cool Boxes UK
Cottage Delight
Creative Retail Solutions
CSP Countryside Greetings
CSY Retail Systems
Greenspan Projects
Kevin Milner Photography
Open Retail Solutions
The Cress Company
The EPOS Bureau
Total Energy Solutions

Details about taking a stand at the trade show and sponsorship opportunities can be found by clicking the link below.

Trade Show Exhibiting & Sponsorship Opportunities 2019 click here


Conference Day Main Sponsor 


 Conference Day Sponsors & Supporters