I listened to Helen Browning, the charismatic Chief Executive of the Soil Association, on Desert Island Discs and discovered that the dull name was a cover for a very important organisation. I realised I knew nothing about the work of the association to prevent the degradation of our soils, promote organic food and abrogate the threat to our future food supply.
I looked up their web site and found:
The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by a group of far-sighted individuals who were concerned about the health implications of increasingly intensive farming following the Second World War. They were particularly worried about the loss of soil through erosion and depletion; the decreased nutritional quality of intensively produced food; the exploitation of animals in intensive units and the impact of large-scale intensive farming on the countryside and wildlife.
Today, they are the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use. They have over 150 staff both based in offices in Bristol and Edinburgh and working as certification inspectors across the country.
Here is an unsung and unheralded organisation supported by practical people working for the good of us all. Born from a group of farmers who believed in operating farms in alliance with nature rather than with industry, they have developed standards for eco-friendly farming.
For 50 years they have been working to the third principle of behaviour of Eco-humanity: ‘Recognise the integrated world of nature, respect how it supports our lives and preserve its full diversity for the benefit of our children.’