Soil Association Turns 60
02 Mar 2006
The 60th Anniversary Conference of the Soil Association was a coming of age for the UK’s organic movement. The Association was founded in 1946 by a farmers, scientists and nutritionists.
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The 60th Anniversary Conference of the Soil Association marked a coming of age for the UK’s organic movement. The Association was founded in 1946 by a group of farmers, scientists and nutritionists. They observed a direct connection between farming practices and plant, animal, human and environmental health.
This year’s gathering attracted wide-spread support from right across the political divide; from London’s Mayor, Ken Livingstone, Green MEP Caroline Lucas to the new Conservative leader, David Cameron, who has won first prize with his organic vegetables in his local village show, two year’s running!
John Humphrys from BBC’s Today chaired the question and answer session with a panel, which included journa-list and former Fleet Street Editor, Rosie Boycott, now an organic small-holder, BBC News presenter, Anna Ford, and Jonathan Dimbleby who chairs Radio 4′s Any Questions and is also the Soil Association’s President.
Most important were all the farmers, growers and producers who are giving good food’ a future, passionately believing that organic produce is the way forward. This was demonstrated by a Slow Food Lunch, sourced and served up by some of the best known organic and artisan producers in the UK.
Huge progress has been made in terms of the growth of organic farm-ing. According to latest figures, 70 per cent of shoppers will be buying organic produce during the year, and the or-ganic farming market is growing by 15 per cent per annum.
Ken Livingstone congratulated Green London Assembly Member, Jenny Jones, on all the work she is doing on the London Food Strategy to be published this year. It aims to make it easier for Londoners to eat more organic and regionally produced food.
At the pre-conference dinner, David Cameron said: ‘We need growth in our economy to provide the wealth and prosperity, but … it must be green, if we’re going to hand over this country and this planet to future generations.’
Soil Association Director, Patrick Holden said: ‘We are seeing a revival of a real food culture, hugely boosted by the public furore over the appalling standard of school meals. Public and political tastes are moving away from cheap, poor quality food, produced in ways that compromise human health and harm the environment.’ Or, as David Cameron put it: ‘I believe that your organisation is riding a wave of enthusiasm. You may be 60 years old, but I know that your best years are yet to come.’
Contact: The Soil Association, Bristol House, 40-56 Victoria Street, Bristol, BS1 6BY. Tel: 0117 314 5000 Website: www.soilassociation.org.uk
Photo: Jeanette Orrey, Soil Association school meals policy advisor, with children at the Food for Life’ school lunch. © Soil Association
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