Lady Eve Balfour

Pioneer from the UK, Co-founder of the Soil Association

"If fresh food is necessary to health in man and beast, then that food must be provided
not only from our own soil but as near as possible to the sources of consumption."

Lady Eve Balfour (1899-1990) was an English farmer, educator, organic farming pioneer, and a founding figure in the organic movement. She was one of the first women to study agriculture at an English university, graduating from the University of Reading. Her ideas inspired the formation of the Soil Association in England with other farmers, scientists and nutritionists.

She began farming in 1920, in Haughley Green, Suffolk, England. In 1939, when she was 20 years old, she launched the Haughley Experiment, the first long-term, side-by-side scientific comparison of organic and chemical-based farming.

In 1943, she published the organics classic, The Living Soil, a book combining her research with the initial findings at Haughley. In 1946, she co-founded and became the first president of the Soil Association, which later helped found IFOAM - Organics International. She farmed, wrote, and lectured for the rest of her life.

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