Who Was ... Lady Eve Balfour

Lady Eve Balfour (1898 to 1990) Farmer, educator, organic pioneer. Founded The Soil Association in 1946 following the publication of her book “The Living Soil” in 1943 based on her experience farming at Haughey Green. .

Eve Balfour the niece of the former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour and daughter of the 2nd Earl Balfour. By age 12 she had determined that she wanted to be a farmer and became one of the first women to study agriculture at a British university. In 1919 she used her inheritance to buy New Bells Farm at Haughey Green in Suffolk with her sister, Mary. There in 1939 she instituted "The Haughey Experiment" - a series of scientific trials comparing organic and chemical farming.

The basis for the experiment (more properly 'demonstration') was the idea that farmers were over-reliant on fertilisers, that livestock, crops and the soil should be treated as a whole system,[4] and that "natural" farming produced food which was in some way more wholesome than food produced with more intensive methods.[5] Lady Balfour believed that mankind's future and human health were dependent on how the soil was treated, and ran the experiment to generate scientific data that would support these beliefs

The result of this was the publication of her book "The Living Soil" in 1943. The book led directly to the founding of the Soil Association three years later by Eve Balfour together with a small group of other farmers, scientists and nutritionist. Eve became the first President of the association and was a key figure in the creation of the organic food movement in the UK.

“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.

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