In 1893 “Bread from Stones” was written by Julius Hensel and is recognised as the first book to raise the awareness to farmers of their options available to them.

Despite the book being written over hundred and 14 years ago.. “the 1893 classic that is still shaping agriculture today.”*

It was by chance that Julius Hensel, an agricultural chemist, observed that the stones when accidentally ground up with grain into flour meal, gave plants astonishingly healthy growth when discarded and spread around some vegetables. Furthermore he found that when he spread his mix around every second vegetable in the row they not only grew better but insects would stay away from those plants as well as fungal and bacterial diseases. However the plants which were untreated still suffered from insect attack. In those days conventional farming used animal manures which were fairly fresh and uncomposted and/or artificial fertilisers. Both of these treatments resulted in gutless growth.

Prior to writing his book, Julius Hensel, did a lot of work grinding various rocks into dust to observe the results. Many farmers took on the practice and the chemical artificial fertiliser industry, which was reasonably well established by then, was threatened by his achievements. As a result representatives of that industry launched a court case against him for misleading farmers. However “200 farmers testified before court that fertilising with stone meal showed far better effects than those from the artificial manure as used hitherto.” p 24 The judge therefore stopped the proceedings and dismissed the case and the accuser was fined for libel.

However the chemical interests continued their skilful art of discreditation against him and as a result his results are still only known to a comparatively small circle of farmers. Hensel died a somewhat disheartened man. He felt miffed in his dedication for the truth and to be unable to fully help his fellow farmers.

The situation is the same today. Many soil experts who understand the life in the soil are discredited in many ways. Usually they are accused of being “unscientific” and yet their knowledge brings true soil fertility to those who listen and act. Why are these experts discredited?