Haughley: Organic food pioneers work is recognised with unveiling of heritage plaque

Peter Anderson, one of the organisers, with the blue heritage plaque for Dame Eve Balfour and Alice

Peter Anderson, one of the organisers, with the blue heritage plaque for Dame Eve Balfour and Alice Debenham in Haughley - Credit: Archant

PIONEERS of organic food have been recognised for their work after a heritage plaque was unveiled in tribute to their legacy.

Lady Evelyn ‘Eve’ Balfour and Alice Debenham, whose work in organic farming has been described as “instrumental”, have both been honoured in a ceremony in Haughley, near Stowmarket.

The event took place at the original headquarters of the Soil Association at Walnut Tree Manor.

Henry Chevallier Guild is a partner in Aspall Cyder, which put forward funding for the plaque.

He said: “It was a great idea and probably should have been done years ago. They were both instrumental in founding the organic food movement globally.


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“They were the pioneers. The organic movement was such a struggle for such a long time. I do not think that the work has actually come into its own yet. I think in the next 30-40 years the experiments in phosphate levels will be important.”

In 1939, Eve and Alice launched the Haughley Experiment, the first scientific comparison of organic and chemical-based farming.

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Four years later in 1943 Eve published the organics classic, The Living Soil, which combined her research with the initial findings at Haughley. The women’s work led to the founding of the Soil Association in 1946. The association now supports more than 4,000 producers.

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