Tribute to a hero of organic farming

Peter Melchett, a passionate defender of the countryside and the integrity of the natural environment, has died at the age of 70.

Peter was inspired by Lady Eve Balfour and her book The Living Soil, and also by Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring. Both were outstanding voices of the early environmental movement, and were the source of his idealism and vision of humanity living in harmony with the natural world.

Peter was no mere idealist, however. He was a practical man and an organic farmer who looked after the land, cared for the soil, cherished the trees, loved the animals and enjoyed watching birds. He was actively engaged in the work of numerous ecological organisations, including Friends of the Earth, WWF, the Ramblers Association and the RSPB.

However, the highlight of his work was promoting organic farming, and he became policy director of the Soil Association. While in that position, he was successful in putting the cause of organic agriculture on both the national and the international agenda.