Sir Albert Howard, is famously quoted for saying, “The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible.”
Next Tuesday, I will be attending an event in Cambridge which explores his work and discusses this concept. There were eighteen places left, the last time I looked.
To some, the truth of this quote will be self evident though looking at the evidence to back up what instincts tell us is always useful as there are occasions when science proves them wrong! Last Saturday, I was at our local Community Supported Agriculture scheme weeding leeks. Now, the leeks would have been doing better had the weeding been done two or even three weeks earlier but what I loved was seeing how many bees were collecting nectar from the red shank and from the fat hen there, both species that I was not aware were major sources of nectar for honey bees. I am sure that they will go towards ensuring that the honey from the hives on the farm will be one that is enjoyed by all who taste it!
Going back to the quote that I started this piece with, the way I see it is that if one link in a system is faulty it will affect the whole system. I can not be healthy if my kidneys, lungs or heart etc. are not working well. In the same way the same is true of soil, plant, animal and man. (I could add air and water to this equation.) While apparently healthy crops can be grown in poor soil with the addition of chemical fertilisers etc. I personally do not believe that that health is real. Doing this is also living on borrowed time as is evidenced by the decreasing soil depth on many intensive farms and the decreasing nutrient content.
This is why I will only use organic or wild crafted oils (plant material collected from the wild in a sustainable way) in my practice. I want to be able to ensure a continued supply of my oils and not to destroy the system that produces them.