Soil Association celebrates organic pioneers

15 October 2013

The pioneers who have significantly contributed to organic food and farming over the last 40 years were honoured at a special event held during the Soil Association’s Annual Conference last week.

A representative group of 15 organic farmers and growers were awarded a plaque to acknowledge their dedication to both the Soil Association and the wider organic movement at a ceremony which also commemorated the 40th anniversary of Soil Association Certification Ltd. The ceremony was hosted by Soil Association President Monty Don and Chief Executive Helen Browning.

Those who received a plaque included vegetable growers John and Ruth Daltry who were among the first of the UK’s farmers and growers to be awarded the Soil Association symbol in 1974. Now in their late eighties, the couple are still as committed as ever to making fresh organic produce and wine available to people in Leicestershire.

Soil Association organic licensee Bruce Bennett of Pillars of Hercules was also given a plaque. Over the last quarter of a century Bruce’s farm has been a pillar of community in Cupar, Fife. His enterprise includes a farm shop, box scheme, café and campsite.

Speaking at the event, Helen Browning said: “I would like to say a heart-felt ‘thank you’ to the pioneers behind the organic food and drink market. This group of farmers, growers and food processors have been unequivocal supporters of the organic movement and the Soil Association for nearly 40 years. I’m sure that there wouldn’t be such an abundance of quality organic produce as there is in the UK today without their dedication and commitment. It’s wonderful to be celebrating their achievements, particularly following recent data which show the UK organic market is in growth again.”


Contact Tom de Pass on 0776 789 2723


The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by a group of farmers, scientists and nutritionists who observed a direct connection between farming practice and plant, animal, human and environmental health.

In 1967 the Soil Association created the world’s first set of organic standards. In 1973 the first system for regulating them began, run by SA Certification. In 1991 it became a legal requirement to be certified by a government approved third party in order to label food produce as organic.

The ceremony took place at the Soil Association’s Annual Conference on Wednesday 9 October 2013.

Those given plaques were:

• John and Ruth Daltry of Chevelswarde Organic Growers, Leicestershire
• Arthur and Josephine Pearse of Tamarisk Farm, Dorset
• James Norman of Path Hill Farm, Oxfordshire
• Nigel and Joe Wookey from Rushall Farms, Wiltshire
• Simon Weir of Turf Croft Cottage, Hampshire
• Dr Hugh Tripp of Avalon Vineyard, Somerset
• Mr Patrick Treherne of Heron's Folly, East Sussex
• Tony Hayman of Highland Harvest, Aberdeenshire
• Bruce Bennett of Pillars of Hercules Farm, Fife
• Philip Douthwaite of Douthwaite & Sons, Warwickshire
• Adrian Steele of W O Steele & Sons, Worcestershire
• Gerry Minister of Luddesdown Organic Farms Ltd, Kent
• Sam Wade of Eastleach Downs Farm, Gloucestershire
• Michael and Claire Marriage of Doves Farm, Wiltshire
• Iain Tolhurst of West Lodge, Oxfordshire


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