At Walnut Tree Manor, Haughley Green on April 6th 2013 at 11 am, a blue plaque was unveiled by Alan Shaw, chair of Haughley Parish Council. It commemorates the formidable pioneers of the movement – Lady Evelyn Balfour and Miss Alice Debenham. Peter Anderson of the Norfolk Organic Group was the driving force behind this long-overdue public recognition of Haughley Green as the birthplace of organic farming. Hugh Wilson hosted the event, introducing speakers amongst whom were the CEO of the Soil Association, Helen Browning; Henry Chevallier Guild of Aspall Cyder; and Peter Anderson himself. Other guests included our Green Party councillors, Rachel Eburne and Andrew Stringer, Bob Flowerdew from BBC Radio 4’s “Gardeners’ Question Time”, Dr Erin Gill and many local residents.
A framed document detailing the morning’s events, as well as some biographical snippets about the two women, has been hung on the wall in the entrance of Walnut Tree Manor, now a base for the Kids’ Group Adventure Company. The East Anglian Daily Times and the Bury Free Press sent photographers, and the unveiling has been mentioned on the internet by the Soil Association and the Aspall Cyder Company. The guests were asked to sign and leave their comments.
This appropriately green file contains these comments, as well as a selection of photos of the event, here in the Maxwell Charnley Room at Haughley. In time a larger archive of printed materials and sources for further reading and study will also be placed here, and at Ipswich Record Office.