Soil Association

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WARNING! Sewage sludge is toxic. Food should not be grown in "biosolids." Join the Food Rights Network.

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. Today the Soil Association is the UK's leading organic organisation, with over 200 staff based in Bristol and Edinburgh and working as certification inspectors across the country. The Soil Association's previous director was Patrick Holden; current director is Helen Browning who reports to the Council of Trustees." [1] Prince Charles is a Patron to the Soil Association, a relationship he has with over 400 organizations.


"Almost all the important figures in the organic movement were Soil Association members. Its first Council included Sir Bernard Greenwell's son Sir Peter, Richard de la Mare, Scott Williamson and Innes Pearse of the Pioneer Health Centre, and Lord Sempill. On its first Advisory Panel were Laurence Easterbrook, M.C. Rayner, Friend Sykes and Roy Wilson. In subsequent years Kenneth Barlow, Rolf Gardiner, H.J. Massingham, Lord Portsmouth, Lionel Picton. Richard St Barbe Baker, Maye Bruce, Newman Turner and Lady Howard were members either of the Council or the Panel. Two names are conspicuous by their absence: Sir Albert Howard and Sir George Stapledon. Howard believed that the decision to take over the experiment at Haughley was mistaken, since it could not be made scientifically watertight without huge financial costs. Stapledon was a member of the Association's Scientific Management Committee, which appointed independent observers of the Haughley experiment." [2] (Sir Peter Greenwell)

First Elected Council [3]

GMO and Indian Farmer Suicide

A comprehensive review in October of 2008 by the International Food Policy Research Institute found:

"We first show that there is no evidence in available data of a “resurgence” of farmer suicides in India in the last five years. Second, we find that Bt cotton technology has been very effective overall in India. However, the context in which Bt cotton was introduced has generated disappointing results in some particular districts and seasons. Third, our analysis clearly shows that Bt cotton is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for the occurrence of farmer suicides." [2]

Soil Association 2010 Report: Consider Growing Organic Food in Toxic Sewage Sludge

On November 29, 2010, the Soil Association issued a major report authored by Dr. Isobel Tomlinson titled "A rock and a hard place: Peak phosphorus and the threat to our food security." [3]. On page 3 the report advocated that the ban on using toxic sewage sludge for growing organic food be reconsidered. It stated: "In the UK, the majority of treated sewage sludge (biosolids) is returned to land. At present time EU organic regulations prohibit the use of such biosolids due to historical concerns about the toxic effects of heavy metals... Heavy metal levels have declined in recent years, and are now low enough for the organic movement to reconsider allowing treated sewage sludge to be used where it meets strict standards."

Lord Peter Melchett, a consultant to Burson-Marsteller Public Relations, is the Policy Director of the Soil Association. Burson-Marsteller's parent firm, WPP Group, has as a client [4] Carlyle Group, a private corporation whose Synagro subsidiary is the world's largest processor of toxic sewage sludge.

Tnis pro-sludge report has since been promoted by Gene Logsdon of BioCycle magazine, a long time advocate for growing food in sewage sludge.

Attached here is the PDF of the Soil Association report of November 29, 2010: [5]


Accessed December 2010: [4]

Honorary Vice-Presidents


Senior Management Team

Policy Forum

SA Certification Board

SA Certification Managing Director

Soil Association Scotland Director

Previous Personnel


Accessed December 2013: [5]

The current Management Committee:

  • Neil Canetty-Clarke - Hon. Treasurer
  • Linda Campbell - Chair of SA Certification
  • Dennis Overton - Chair
  • Gabriel Scally - Elected by Council
  • Charles Weston - Elected by Council
  • Andrew Whitley - Vice-Chair

Council (2009)

Accessed November 2009: [6]

The current Management Committee:

Related Articles



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. About, Soil Association, accessed November 13, 2009.
  2. Philip Conford, The Origins of the Organic Movement (Floris Books, 2001), pp.89-90.
  3. Matthew Reed, Rebels for the Soil: The Rise of the Global Organic Food and Farming Movement (Earthscan, 2010), p.58.
  4. People, Soil Association, accessed November 13, 2009.
  5. Soil Association [1], organizational web page, accessed December 27, 2013.
  6. Soil AssociationCouncil, Soil Association, accessed November 13, 2009.