He gave us an inspiring and heartfelt talk of his personal journey from London childhood to Welsh dairy farmer, and thus on to his crusade with the Soil Association to turn farming organic as part of the worlds need to meet the challenges of the future.
Patrick Holden was brought up in London. He visited a dairy farm near Epping aged five and decided he wanted to milk cows. He studied biodynamic agriculture at Emerson College in 1972 and started a community farm in West Wales in 1973.
The 93 hectare mixed organic farm is now the longest established organic dairy farm in Wales, with a herd of 65 Ayrshire cows – the milk from which is being made into an unpasteurised cheese by his son Sam. Patrick still milks his cows at weekends.
He has worked for the Soil Association since 1988 and as Director since 1995. During that period income has risen from £200,000 to £10 million and sales of organic food from £50 million to £2 billion.
He is a regular broadcaster and speaker and was responsible for Tony and Pat Archer’s conversion in 1985 and still advises for the Archers on matters organic. He was awarded the CBE for services to organic farming in 2005.
The Bingley Arts Centre proved to be an excellent venue as, with its excellent anteroom to the hall, everyone could enjoy the refreshments and meet up and see the displays.