Constructive co-ops

Helen Browning - 19 May 2011

Welcome to my first blog as the Soil Association director - I want to use this to share some of my thoughts and give an idea of what we're up to, but I'm new to blogging, so bear with me while I get going!

Last week I spent an excellent day in Devon alongside Phil Stocker, and my amazing co-ordinator Lisa, meeting with the South Devon Organic Producers Coop (sdop), Rod Hall, and a number of producers, courtesy of the Buddens. The sdop were inspiring, showing how good coperation, both with each other and with customers, in this case Riverford, can reap significant rewards. The verdict from all was that the financial viability of their smallish farms has been secured by the coop and its close and constructive relationship with Riverford. Then we had an amazing lunch at the Field Kitchen... completely bowled over by the food, and was high on vegetables for the rest of the day!

Benefitted from the warmth, humour and insights of Rod, Tim and Jo Budden and their friends. Despite the impact of a difficult and changing market, the over riding impression was of committed, creative and fundamentally optimistic people, determined to find their different ways through, and to stand by the organic approach as the best route to a saner future. It was a fantastic dinner as well – I could get used to this!

Helen Browning is the Soil Association's Chief Executive, and also is an organic farmer - she runs a 1,350 acre organic livestock and arable farm in Wiltshire. Her sausages and bacon can be found in the supermarkets, and her versatile team also run the village pub! Previously Director of External Affairs at the National Trust, Helen is also chair of the Food Ethics Council and was awarded an OBE in 1998 for services to organic farming.

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Tim Young
26 May 2011 16:15

With regards your comment Juan, we're working on it! Unfortunately, due to resources and the need to update some of our back end database systems, producing such a list online is easier said than done, though we are working on these issues right now. Tim I'm not sure exactly what our position is on that, but we will get back to you once I've spoken to the right people.

24 May 2011 23:25

Could Soil Association please create a page listing all the accredited organic farms with their respective website. Based in London I would like to order my organics meat and veg directly from the farmers, if possible. There are many websites claiming to be supplying of organics stuffs but not sure if there are genuine. I believe Soil Association could help consumers to identify the credible organics food producers.

tim finney
23 May 2011 13:56

what i'd like to know now is how the soil association will respond to the news that MEPs are looking at unlocking the ban on feeding animal proteins to some farm livestock, I guess poultry and pigs. As you know i have often railed at the lunacy of importing organic soya for example from S America and the far east, when there is suitable other proteins on our own doorstep, to offer to these omnivores. A very tricky area, but one that ought to be tackled. I think organic consumers are people who would regard this sort of move as positive, and not with hysteria.

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