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The Prince of Wales celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the Soil Association

22nd June 2017

The Prince meets Soil Association members

The Prince meets Soil Association members

The Prince of Wales has highlighted claims that the world only has "enough fertility for 60 harvests" as he gave a speech marking the 70th Anniversary of the Soil Association.

Speaking as the patron of the Soil Association, which promotes healthy and sustainable food and farming, His Royal Highness said "It is becoming ever clearer that the very future of humanity may depend to a very large extent on a mainstream transition to more sustainable farming practices, based of course on organic principles.

"Yet despite the extraordinary efforts of the Soil Association, including the work of the individuals and organisations in this room and of many others throughout the world, in terms of impact on the planet and public health, things have actually got worse, not better, with the majority of farmland still in so-called conventional production, and the organic market still small and relatively fragile."

The Prince has been an advocate of organic farming for many decades and runs his Duchy Home farm in Gloucestershire on the principles.

The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by farmers, scientists, doctors and nutritionists to promote the connection between the health of the soil, food, animals, people and the environment.

The Prince of Wales marks the 70th Anniversary of the Soil Association

The Prince of Wales marks the 70th Anniversary of the Soil Association

Over the past 70 years the Soil Association has pioneered and promoted organic standards that aim to deliver the best animal welfare available on the market as well as 50% more biodiversity and healthy, productive soils.

Through its Food for Life programme the charity also hopes to transform the meals served in schools, hospitals and workplaces.

A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales at the 70th Anniversary of the Soil Association

Published on 22nd June 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, I am enormously grateful to Helen Browning and indeed to all of you here for this incredibly unexpected and undeserved award.  It really is a very great privilege to receive such recognition – especially in the presence of so many organic luminaries!

Needless to say, I really could not be more pleased to be joining what appears to be a great many old friends to celebrate the Soil Association's seventieth anniversary, and as your Patron to have this chance to offer my warmest congratulations, for what they're worth, for all on such a significant occasion.  I must say, I am rather proud that I am nearly as old as this august organization!  And at least I have the pleasure of knowing that it will last a great deal longer than its rapidly disintegrating Patron! 

Now Ladies and Gentlemen, as many of you know, although the term "organic farming" was coined by Lord Northbrook in his first book, "Look Back to the Land" in 1940, the formation of the Soil Association was inspired by the ideas of a small group of extraordinary individuals who first understood the indivisibility of the links between the way in which we produce food and the health of our soils, plants, animals and people.

How fortunate we are then that Lady Eve Balfour immediately understood the significance of these links, after she read about the ideas of Sir Albert Howard, in his wonderful book, "An Agricultural Testament" – his homage of course to what he had learnt from the peasant farmers of North West India, back in the early part of the twentieth ...

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