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Best organic businesses 2005 announced by Soil Association

TV presenter Gillian McKeith and a pioneering farmer supplying organic milk to his local hospital are among the winners in this year’s Organic Industry Awards presented by the Soil Association – the UK’s leading organisation promoting organic food and farming.

The milk producer is Gordon Tweddle of Acorn Dairy in Northumberland, who has been named Organic Business Person of the Year – an award sponsored by Triodos Bank. Gillian McKeith has won the Consumer Education Award for the impact she has made in encouraging healthier eating through her Channel 4 series You Are What You Eat.

Three retailer awards, sponsored by Yeo Valley Organic, were also among the clutch of Soil Association accolades presented. All were announced at the 12th Natural & Organic Products Annual Industry Awards presentation dinner, held at Hammersmith Palais, London, on Sunday 17 April. Graig Farm Organics (Powys), Planet Organic (Fulham) and Eastwoods (Hertfordshire) were named best home-delivery retailer, best large store and best small store.

Martin Cottingham, the Soil Association's Marketing Director, said: “This year’s winners demonstrate the combination of imagination, commercial flair and integrity which characterises the UK’s leading organic enterprises. The calibre of entries for the Organic Business Person of the Year points to a healthy future of continuing growth for the organic movement.”

Organic Business Person of the Year: Gordon Tweddle, Acorn Organic Dairy, Darlington, County Durham
Dairy farmer Gordon Tweddle is a passionate believer in restoring the link between farmer and customer. After converting to organic production in 1998, he established Acorn Dairy in 2000 to sell his own organic milk direct to the doorstep locally at accessible prices. Not long afterwards the fledgling dairy was "knocked sideways", in Gordon's words, by the Foot and Mouth epidemic of 2001-2002. But despite having no fixed assets – his family are tenant farmers on Church Commissioners land - he succeeded in securing business development funding and a sizeable overdraft to build an organic dairy processing unit for his 180-cow herd and neighbouring farms. This enabled 100 per cent control over his milk from cow to customer. The direct link with a local farm has appealed to local people, and Acorn Dairy is now thriving. The latest management accounts show a substantial increase in profits, and Gordon has cut his June 2003 peak overdraft by 40 per cent. He has also made an important breakthrough as the first organic producer to supply organic milk to his local NHS trust for serving to staff and patients. The switch to organic milk at the Darlington Memorial Hospital last autumn has proved popular, and Gordon hopes to secure an ongoing supply contract soon. “Gordon has shown huge resilience and initiative to overcome the difficulties he has faced,” says Martin Cottingham, the Soil Association’s Marketing Director. “The ground-breaking partnership with his local hospital is an inspiration to other organic enterprises as education and health authorities start to respond to the demand from parents and patients for healthier food.”
Contact: Acorn Organic Dairy, 01325 466999,

Consumer Education Award: Gillian McKeith, nutritionist, writer and television presenter
This award is given in recognition of efforts to increase consumer awareness of the benefits of organic food, and the issues surrounding its production. Gillian McKeith was rewarded for her work in tackling obesity, championing healthier eating and promoting the contribution that organic fruit, vegetables and other products can make to sound nutrition. Martin Cottingham, the Soil Association's Marketing Director, said: "Gillian's television series and accompanying book, You Are What You Eat, have had a phenomenal impact on consumer awareness of the link between good food and good health.”
Contact: Jo Wander, NCI management, 020 72243960,

Best Home Delivery Retailer: Graig Farm Organics, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, Wales
Graig Farm Organics, established in the late eighties, has been recognised for its innovative approach and excellent service. The judges were impressed by Graig Farm’s extensive range of high-quality products, its dedication to working in partnership with local suppliers and the pioneering tracebility system that tells consumers about the individual farm and breed of animal their meat came from and a website address for more info, via a label on the packaging. "This is one organic home delivery service that really does whet the appetite - be it their new local goat's milk smoothies, their award-winning organic mutton or organic ready meals made by a local chef,” said the judges. “You can even buy organic soft fruit plants, local handmade cosmetics for your skin and organic baby blankets.”
Contact: Graig Farm Organics, 01597 851655,

Best Large Store: Planet Organic, Fulham, London
The organic and natural supermarket Planet Organic's new store in Fulham scooped the award for this year's Best Large Store. "It dazzled us with the 'wow' factor: the customer -friendly layout, well-stocked shelves, spanking fresh produce, and delicious ’food to go’ were all noted,” said the judges. “Customer service could not be faulted." Planet Organic's staff training programme, involvement with the charity FareShare, and own-label product development were also factors. Ten years ago Renee Elliott of Planet Organic transformed the retail scene by opening the first supermarket selling only natural and organic food. No artificial anything, the ethos of Planet Organic is to promote health in the community by making simple, good food available under one roof.
Contact: Barbara Rayner, 01793 792043/ 07966 880458,

Best Small Store: Eastwoods of Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
Pioneering butchers Eastwoods of Berkhamsted, owned by Joe Collier, was voted Best Small Store for 2005. Eastwoods is dedicated to selling top-quality organic, free range and seasonal rare breeds meats from small suppliers. Its first class service and involvement with the local community have brought success in a highly competitive market. "Joe Collier is the Jeanette Orrey of butchers," enthused the judges. "His unstoppable enthusiasm and dedication are infectious. The spick and span shop - packed with loyal customers in spite of its slightly out of the way location - says it all."
Contact: Eastwoods of Berkhamsted, 01442 865012.

The Soil Association Organic Industry Awards are run in association with Natural Products magazine.



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Library documents in Press releases 2005 category
» New Organic Aid Scheme payments - Soil Association comment01/10/2006
» Soil Association events from January 200612/20/2005
» Soil Association Scotland hosts world's first organic Burns Supper12/19/2005
» How will London feed itself if the oil runs out?12/19/2005
» LIFE IN EARTH - 'SECRETS OF THE SOIL' - a public address by Dr Elaine Ingham. 12/15/2005
» Organic egg producers must act now, says the Soil Association12/13/2005
» Soil Association response to the Department for International Development's strategy for agriculture in developing countries12/07/2005
» Soil Association welcomes Defra’s agri-environment decision11/28/2005
» Winners of the Soil Association School Food Awards 2005 announced11/25/2005
» Jamie Oliver presents top award to Scottish school 11/21/2005
» Climate Change, Oil Crisis, Trade Disruption - feeding our cities in the face of real and present challenges11/18/2005
» Jamie Oliver to present Soil Association's School Food Awards at BBC Good Food Show11/15/2005
» Soil Association events from November 2005 11/07/2005
» Christmas - a season to be merry and organic11/04/2005
» Finishing lambs out of season - Soil Association Scotland event11/03/2005
» The Prince of Wales, Sting and Trudie Styler support launch of Soil Association international campaign in America11/03/2005
» Soil Association urges ‘caution’ over markets for older organic cattle 11/02/2005
» Government will break EU law by allowing antibiotics to be pushed directly to farmers10/28/2005
» Bird ‘Flu: Vaccination before wholesale confinement and mass-culling. Soil Association demands urgent meeting with Prime Minister.10/27/2005
» Soil Association welcomes HRH Prince of Wales speech on sustainable future for food and farming (broadcast on BBC R4 Today @ 8.10am)10/27/2005
» Jamie Oliver opens The Training Kitchen for school cooks 10/24/2005
» Bird Flu - Protection of Public Health Paramount, Proportionate Action for Producers10/18/2005
» Seminar provides ‘a taste of the future’ in catering10/06/2005
» Dumfries Organic Gathering10/06/2005
» Soil Association Scotland welcomes Organic Annual Report10/06/2005
» Soil Association events from September 200510/05/2005
» Public will reward farmers for quality, tasty, additive & pesticide free food10/04/2005
» Report says transform school meals with 'local, seasonal and organic' foods.10/03/2005
» Report says transform school meals with 'local, seasonal and organic' foods.10/03/2005
» How to extend the growing season - Soil Association Scotland training event on Isle of Skye 09/21/2005
» Over 25% more pesticides found in samples of school fruit compared to shops09/21/2005
» Last chance to enter - new awards offer schools the chance to see Jamie Oliver in action09/20/2005
» Soil Association developing new standards to minimise household waste from organic products 09/08/2005
» Warnings of organic milk shortage met with appeal for caution09/06/2005
» Record festival crowd marks major organic milestone09/06/2005
» Feast your eyes: exciting arts line up for the Soil Association's organic week 200508/26/2005
» Organic Week 2005: 3-11 September - 'A feast of flavours.' Throughout the country. 08/26/2005
» School meals down on the farm08/24/2005
» Soil Association says antibiotic resistance in chicken needs action now08/15/2005
» The Soil Association Organic Food Festival 2005 - 3-4 September Bristol - various locations08/04/2005
» 32% more birds found on organic farms, according to new BTO study08/03/2005
» Treat Welsh organic farmers fairly, says Soil Association07/26/2005
» Soil Association offers new service to caterers07/18/2005
» G8 approach to global poverty simplistic, says Ethiopian environmentalist07/11/2005
» Finishing lambs out of season - Soil Association Scotland event.07/08/2005
» Finishing lambs out of season - Soil Association Scotland event.07/07/2005
» Soil Association Scotland hosts Live Aid anniversary lecture: Can organic farming feed the world?07/07/2005
» Soil Association meets Minister as consumers show commitment to high welfare standards07/05/2005
» New Plain English organic standards are a hit with licensees, says Soil Association06/21/2005
» Royal recognition of school meals success06/17/2005
» "Dump the junk" - Soil Association and Olympic champion encourage healthier workplaces06/10/2005
» Cultivating Co-operatives - Organisational structures for local food enterprise06/02/2005
» Call to action on agricultural waste 06/01/2005
» Soil Association hosts Live Aid anniversary lecture: Can organic farming feed the world?05/31/2005
» The biggest UK organic growers’ event - ever! 05/25/2005
» New training kitchen to help school cooks deliver healthier meals05/23/2005
» Soil Association Events from May 200505/19/2005
» Darlington hospital is first to serve organic milk 05/19/2005
» Best organic businesses 2005 announced by Soil Association 04/25/2005
» Asda, Morrisons and Tesco shun UK organic beef and pork04/08/2005
» Official Review finds Food Standards Agency's pro-GM and anti-organic stance 'deviated from scientific evidence'04/05/2005
» Soil Association statement on the Big Lottery's support for school meals.04/01/2005
» New research shows urgent need for Government action on school meal nutritional standards 03/24/2005
» Organic Week 2005 - what’s on03/17/2005
» Sales of organic cotton reach £20 million03/09/2005
» UK’s first certified organic mattresses go on sale03/08/2005
» New research proves organic milk is higher in vitamins and antioxidants than non-organic milk03/02/2005
» Soil Association Events from March 200502/28/2005
» Soil Association response to 'Organic myth cracked' article (Daily Mail - 2 February 2005).02/18/2005
» Pioneering organic farmers to miss out under new CAP payments02/15/2005
» Advertising authority agrees statements to promote health benefits of organic food02/14/2005
» Soil Association welcomes new standards for school meals02/10/2005
» Good for organic business02/09/2005
» Free fast track service for Scottish farmers converting to organic02/03/2005
» Government strategy fails to cut use of farm antibiotics 01/18/2005
» Consumers to benefit from organic potato breakthrough01/04/2005
» Enjoy a unique organic dining experience - Newcastle 7 & 8 January 01/02/2005
(archived document: archived document)

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