Making Organic and Sustainable Mainstream in the UK

From Bonnie in London: The English newspaper, the Observer, has announced the winners of its Annual Food Awards and the Hall of Fame award goes to Patrick Holden, Director of the Soil Association. This is in recognition of his tireless campaign " in support of organic food and farming, building public awareness and influencing government and industry alike".

The Soil Association is celebrating its sixtieth year--the Brits were ahead of the pack in understanding the importance of maintaining natural soil fertility and composting. Since starting in 1988, Holden has built the association by focussing on the development of an infrastructure, production capacity and standards for sustainable farming of organic food.About 4,000 farms and businesses adhere to its strict criteria and 44,000 products carry its symbol. In addition the Association is working with 300 schools to develop nutritional lunch programmes.

Holden's next big campaign is increasing mass membership of individuals. This will enable more people to participate and learn.

His great fear for the future is the industrialisation of organic farming. The demand is so great that three quarters of the organic fruit and vegetables sold in supermarkets comes from abroad. This "success" threatens the original philosophy of the organisation.

Prince Charles said that " Holden has contributed enormously" to the organic movement and "I am delighted that Patrick has received this award for The Observer Food Monthly". We agree. ::Soil Association via ::Observer

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