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Tributes paid to 'passionate' organic farmer and campaigner Peter Melchett

Tributes have been paid to farmer and campaigner Peter Melchett, who has died.


Olivia   Midgley

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Olivia   Midgley
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Tributes paid to organic farmer and campaigner Peter Melchett

A passionate advocate of the organic sector, Lord Melchett was policy director at the Soil Association up until his death, a position he had held since 2002.

 

He was also managing director of 890-acre Courtyard Farm in Hunstanton, Norfolk, which was owned by his father, and is now owned by a charitable trust.

The farm fully converted to organic in 2000, and produces barley, wheat, and beans, all grown for seed, and clovers and grass for cattle feed.

It has won numerous awards for its wildlife conservation work over the years.

Lord Melchett was an ardent campaigner against genetically modified crops and during his time as executive director of Greenpeace, he was arrested for trashing a GM crops trial in Norfolk.


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He spent a night in police custody and then a night in Norwich Prison before being released on bail.
The case went to court in 2000 when Lord Melchett and his 27 co-defendants were unanimously acquitted of theft and criminal damage.

Friends and colleagues took to Twitter to pay tribute to Lord Melchett.

 

Helen Browning, Soil Association chief executive, said: “We are so saddened by the death of Peter Melchett, Policy Director at the Soil Association and true champion of the organic movement.

 

"Peter has been policy director at the Soil Association for 18 years and was such an important, charismatic figure in the environment and organic movement throughout his lifetime. He was an extraordinary man with incredible knowledge across a wide range of subjects, ranging from beef farming to sustainable cosmetics.

 

“A true campaigner all his days, he will be greatly missed by all his Soil Association colleagues.”

 

 

He inherited his title at the age of 25, following the early death of his father who had been boss of the British Steel Corporation.
He also spent some time as a junior minister at the then Department for the Environment.
Lord Melchett worked for a number of organisations over the years, including the Ramblers Association, WWF and RSPB.
More recently at the Soil Association, he was responsible for launching its school food programme, Food for Life, and Food for Life Served Here, currently covering 1.7 million meals served outside the home daily.

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