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Soil Management for Sustainable Food Production and Environmental Protection


“The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible” (Balfour 1943)

Soil is fundamental to most life on earth and to all human existence and yet we know so little about its functioning or appropriate management.

* Soil deterioration and loss is widespread; that unlikely environmental advocate Michael Gove tells us that the UK is 30 to 40 years away from “the fundamental eradication of soil fertility” in parts of the country.

* Misuse of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilisers results in gross inefficiency and environmental pollution.

* Trace element levels of our food are declining.

I have worked with organic farming for 35 years, putting into practice sustainable soil management techniques, yet I know that many questions remain unanswered. The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust gives me a unique opportunity to meet with farmers, advisers and researchers in the USA and Europe facing similar questions; to assess alternative soil analysis and management methods, to draw on new understanding of soil biology and to explore new approaches for the future.


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