On 22nd June, at the London celebrations of the Soil Association’s 70th birthday held at the Royal Horticultural Halls, two important guests were in attendance; the association’s patron (HRH Prince Charles) and Hampshire’s own environmental entrepreneur (Simon Parfey of Soil Bio Lab).

The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by farmers, scientists, doctors and nutritionists to promote the connection between the health of the soil, goods, animals, people and environment. A cause so integral to our collective health is well worth celebrating – by royalty and environmental entrepreneurs alike.

On recalling his meeting with HRH, Mr Parfey said,

‘Prince Charles is, and has been for some time, an incredibly important and influential figure in organic farming, so it was an honour to meet him. It also felt surprisingly natural. He was easy to talk to and projected an aura of calm on what was a very busy day. Once we started to talk, the background noise faded away and I invited him to look through the microscope and observe what I look at every day – microbial communities. The diversity and strength of these communities are essential to soil health, crop health and – ultimately – human health.’

According to Mr Parfey, soil life has been ignored by the vast majority of growers across the globe for too long. Now, as it becomes exhausted, crop, plant and grass production is beginning to struggle. In his opinion, it is critical that growers urgently adopt a complete approach to soil management before it’s too late.

When asked if he felt HRH seemed to have a handle on the pressing issues, Mr Parfey replied:

‘He seemed to have a very thorough understanding… although his eyes did begin to glaze over when I moved on to talk about bacteria and fungi at length. Still, I like to think I taught him a thing or two about soil!’

You can find out more precision testing for soil and growing media via soilhub.international or soilbiolab.co.uk.

Notes for Editors:

✓ The Soil Association’s 70th Anniversary Celebrations were sponsored by Waitrose Duchy programme and attended by a host of celebrities, such as Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall, Monty Don and of course the royal patron HRH the Prince of Wales.

✓ Soil Bio Lab specialises in microbiological analysis of soil; growing media and amendments to improve and contribute to education and knowledge in soil and plant health.

✓ Soil Bio Lab is working in collaboration with the Soil Association and the Farmer Innovation Programme to deliver a key Field Lab trial. This trial has been made possible by a significant funding contribution from Duchy Originals.