Aspall commemorates pioneers of the organic movement

Aspall has unveiled a blue plaque to commemorate two pioneers of the organic movement and the Soil Association’s original headquarters, at Walnut Tree Manor, in Haughley, Suffolk.

The two Soil Association pioneers, Lady Eve Balfour and Alice Debenham, carried out work from Walnut Tree Manor into organic growing and nutrition which led to the founding of the Soil Association in 1946. Perronelle Guild, a successful fruit farmer and grandmother of Aspall owners Barry and Henry Chevallier Guild, was also a founder member of the Soil Association, as a result of which Aspall Cyder became an organic producer – a tradition it maintains to this day.

Since its beginning, the Soil Association has grown to become the UK’s leading organic organisation, supporting over 4,000 producers and certifying over 80% of organic produce in the UK. The blue plaque is a result of a campaign by local historians and has been funded by Aspall, Haughley Parish Council, Ipswich Organic Gardening Group, Suffolk Organic Gardening Group and Suffolk smallholder Hugh Wilson.

The event, on Saturday 6 April, was attended by local dignitaries and hosted by Hugh Wilson, Alan Shaw, chairman of Haughley Parish Council, and Henry Chevallier Guild, Aspall partner.

Giving more of an insight in to his grandmother, Henry tells us that “Perronelle Guild was inspired by the example of her close Suffolk neighbour, the legendary Lady Eve Balfour, and it is due to Lady Eve that she became a founder member of the Soil Association. From that point onwards the orchards at Aspall became organic, and we today remain committed organic growers. At the age of 99, Perronelle Guild was a poster girl for Sainsbury’s Organics, as one of the Soil Association’s last surviving original members.”

For more information about the Soil Association visit www.soilassociation.org

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