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Thu, 06 Jun



Bioindicators: What can weeds teach us?

What is a weed? We generally think of it as the wrong plant in the wrong place. But what if we viewed these plants as bioindicators that can inform us about soil health or management practices? Join us for a practical workshop to learn what weeds can teach us…

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Bioindicators: What can weeds teach us?
Bioindicators: What can weeds teach us?

Time & Location

06 Jun 2024, 13:00 – 17:00

FarmED, Station Rd, Shipton-under-Wychwood, Chipping Norton, OX7 6BJ

About the Event

What is a weed? We generally think of it as the wrong plant in the wrong place, but what if these plants are telling us something about our soil, or perhaps even our management decisions on farms? What if instead of viewing these plants as weeds, we began to think of them as Bioindicators? Might certain plants warn us of mineral deficiencies or surpluses, pH conditions or biological activity?

This afternoon practical workshop, led by Dr Chris Maughan, will give you a new way of looking at farming landscapes while providing you with a quick and easy way to diagnose problems in the field without the time and financial costs often associated with lab-based tests.

We'll begin by introducing the concept of bioindicators and how this term can apply to 'weeds' before heading out onto the farm to find out what the weeds at FarmED can tell us. While in the field you'll be led through a simple surveying methodology to enable you to try for yourself at home.

All equipment will be provided, although a wildflower guide and/or a plant ID app (e.g. Plantnet) would be useful during the field survey session. Ticket prices include tea, coffee and cake.  If you would like to purchase lunch beforehand, our cafe serves lunches from midday.

This workshop is part of an ongoing study being led by the Centre for Agroecology Water and Resilience which you can find out more about here.

There are 3 BASIS points available for attending this course.

About the facilitator

Dr Chris Maughan is an Assistant Professor of Agroecological Knowledge and Innovation Systems at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University. He is a transdisciplinary researcher whose work draws on years of experience as a community food grower and training in horticultural production.


"I've always denied the existence of 'weeds' (there's no such thing!) so it's great to have more knowledge on how to better educate others on the value of these 'wildflowers'!!" - Attendee, 2023

"I think Chris tailored the level in reaction to learning our backgrounds and prior knowledge and therefore addressed us at the appropriate skills level, which was excellent." - Attendee, 2023

"[It made me] think about weeds and their significance in the ecosystem and the services they provide."- Attendee, 2023

Tiered Pricing

Delivery of our mission is a collective effort and our values embrace inclusivity and diversity. We don’t want price to be a barrier to anyone visiting FarmED or attending our events. Read more about our tiered pricing policy here.

North East Cotswolds Farmer Cluster

We can offer discounted tickets to NECFC members, please email for a discount code.

If cost is a barrier to you attending, then please do ask us for financial support. The FarmED Bursary offers free or subsidised places to those that will benefit most.

Cancellation Policy

We understand that there may be times when you need to cancel your booking.  Our cancellation policy is outlined here.

We like to take photos and occasionally videos of our events to use on our website and social media, please let us know if you do not want to be photographed.

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