Lord Northbourne

1896 - 1982

Walter James, 4th Baron Northbourne (18 January 1896 – 17 June 1982), was an English agriculturalist, author and rower who competed in the 1920 Summer Olympics.

James later applied the theories of Rudolf Steiner to the family estate at Kent. In 1939 he travelled to Switzerland to visit the leading exponent of biodynamic agriculture, Dr Ehrenfried Pfeiffer. The outcome of that visit was that he hosted, at his farm in Kent, the Betteshanger Summer School and Conference, the first biodynamic farming conference to be held in Britain.

Various scholars attribute the phrase organic farming to Lord Northbourne, and John Paull makes a good case for it being the first time the phrase was in print in his book Look to the Land.