Tribute to Remineralization Pioneer Cameron Thomson of the Seer Centre (1947-2019)
“The early history of soil remineralization in Scotland was the result of the vision and commitment of Cameron and Moira Thomson of the Sustainable Ecological Earth Regeneration (SEER) Centre just outside Pitlochry in Highland Perthshire. These remarkable people championed the issue to the point where it is gradually gaining mainstream interest. This reflects growing interest in the protection of soils as a fundamental resource of any sustainable society, the clear relationship between soils and the wider environment and the relationship between soils, the foods they grow and human health; of fundamental importance as Scotland increasingly focuses on the challenges of sustainable development.”
From “Co-utilization of Rockdust, Mineral Fines and Compost,”
Robin A.K. Szmidt & John Ferguson
Using volcanic rock dust from Scottish quarries, Cameron Thomson, along with his spouse Moira, worked tirelessly to educate and inspire the world about the nutritional and environmental benefits of remineralization.
In 1997, the couple established the Sustainable Ecological Earth Regeneration (SEER) Centre, in Straloch, near Pitlochry, in Perth and Kinross, Scotland, becoming pioneers for turning barren lands into fertile soils. This U.K. center attracted many visitors every year.
Applying their product SEER® Rockdust® improved the natural capability of soils to produce vigorous, mineral-rich vegetation and nutrient-dense crops, while also absorbing atmospheric carbon. Their accomplishments turned out to be some of the best evidence demonstrating remineralization as a simple and highly effective solution.
By spreading a thin rock dust layer over six acres of land in Scotland’s otherwise largely infertile foothills of the Grampian Mountains, the Thomsons mimicked the earth’s glacial processes that naturally fertilize soils. Their regenerated soils produced giant vegetables and huge biodiversity.
The fast growing popularity of the soil remineralizing with SEER Rockdust spread across the North Sea to Sweden. The development came about because the pioneering work of Cameron and Moira Thomson at the SEER Centre near Pitlochry was featured in Graham Harvey’s seminal book We Want Real Food. Ten years after forming their center, Swedish journalist Henrik Ennart visited Cameron and Moira. He was inspired by their farm and wrote an article in Sweden’s leading ‘Svenska Dagbladet’ newspaper, which helped lead to increased demand for rock dust solutions in the Scandinavian country.As such, Angus Horticulture Ltd., which marketed organically-approved products on behalf of Rockdust Ltd. (the trading arm of the SEER Centre Trust), eventually despatched their product to Wiksunds Tradgard — a farm shop and place for courses and events just outside Stockholm, and the general agent in Sweden for rock dust. Lars Angstrom, a member of the Swedish Parliament, and his wife, Katharina, who ran Wiksund Tradgard, recognized that soil remineralization could improve the quality, taste and nutritional value of crops, as well as improve pests and drought resistance and reduce synthetic fertilizer runoff. Further, SEER’s rock dust was combating climate change by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
As Moira has said: “This is a simple solution which could help solve the twin problems of crop yield and climate change, and it doesn’t involve drastic life changes by anyone.”
In recent years, the rich soils Cameron and Moira have regenerated in an otherwise infertile Scottish landscape are capable of producing giant vegetables and a huge biodiversity, which in itself serves as a fitting tribute for Cameron.
Cameron Thomson, An Artist Who Worked for Earth Regeneration
By Don WeaverAfter years of correspondence, I finally had the privilege of visiting Cameron Thomson in 2001 when he and his wife, Moira Thomson, invited me to speak at the Soil Remineralization Conference they hosted near the land they cared for in Scotland.
As I understand it, this Brave-hearted Scotsman was an artist and a teacher before his passion for helping heal the soil and the Earth budded out and blossomed with a rare fragrance and beauty. He was inspired to shift his focus by the words of the visionary John Hamaker, which he found logical and compelling. He shared the vision of spreading rock dust upon the land to enable it to rejuvenate and bring back something akin to a Garden of Eden, one garden, farm and forest at a time — or as quickly as others might share the vision. Soon the gardens of Cameron and Moira (a force of Nature herself) and their children were providing them and others the taste of real organic-mineralized produce, often of amazing size and quality. Eventually the Sustainable Ecological Earth Regeneration or SEER Centre was born to demonstrate and publicize more widely what our species can do not only to slow the depletion of the soil and restore the Earth, but to give more than we take and “grow” more soil even as we’re growing top-quality produce! Produce that can be the basis for the reversal of human malnutrition and disease. Simultaneously, it can eliminate the “diseases” of the Earth: pollution, erosion, desertification, forest death-dying-burning, CO2 buildup, deteriorating climate, and more.In 1984, after reading The Survival of Civilization (co-authored by John Hamaker and myself), Cameron was one of the first to link up transnationally with Joanna Campe and the Soil Remineralization Network, as well as Betsan Coats of Men of The Trees Australia and others in the worldwide Hamaker Coordination Network. Their mission was to get out the word about remineralization and re-greening as a way of taking responsibility for maintaining and restoring planetary life-support systems. Cameron and Moira worked tirelessly from then until his age and failing health in recent years returned him to his beloved fertile soil.
As a real artist with heart, the seeds he sowed, the fruits of the land he grew in partnership with Nature, and the words he wrote and spoke across Europe and the world will go on growing and spreading inspiration — even as the minerals Cameron borrowed to live will grow into new plants and trees from where he was buried. I will leave it to others to write the comprehensive biography of this great man, my few words are mainly to say thank you for your gifts and living legacy, Cameron Thomson of the Braveheart Clan!
Remembering Cameron Thompson and the SEER Centre
By Joanna CampeI’m sorry that I did not visit the Thomsons’ in Scotland when SEER Centre and the farm were thriving. Nevertheless, our networking and work together spans decades. One of my favorite issues of Remineralize the Earth magazine was Issue 6– Winter 1993-94 in the northern hemisphere and Summer 1993-94 in the southern hemisphere. Though a small audience of readers (2000-2500 copies printed), our grassroots movement was made up of individuals and organizations that came from many different countries across the globe. There was a wonderful sepia photograph of Cameron on the cover and the cover story headline was: Cameron Thomson of Scotland Feeds Family of Seven with Remineralized Garden. It was a vivid account by journalist Auslan Cramb in an article called Mineral Rights Transform Couple’s Garden Plot.
They were pioneers playing a crucial role in our movement. While I took on the role of facilitating the movement by reporting on what was going on in the world, the Thomsons’ demonstrated their extraordinary results with some of the most impressive garden plots of produce grown with rock dust ever seen. A stunning photograph is worth more than a thousand words to demonstrate the value of remineralization. They opened their center to visitors throughout the years, and their media popularity and influence led to research in Scotland through the Scottish EPA.
“Grinding out rocks and plowing them into this all sounds a bit daft – until you see the giant cabbages and cauliflowers which grow there with abandon.”
Auslan Cramb, The Scotsman, October 2, 1993
Cramb reported in The Scotsman, “magic dust: the minerals in the ground-up stones rejuvenate the microorganisms in the soil and they in turn provide increased plant nutrients and improved growth of plants.”
Cameron and Moira Thomson’s children Marigold, Silas, Hazel, Willow and Holly grew up eating remineralized vegetables grown on the farm, something we should all be able to experience hopefully in the future – locally grown nutrient dense food.
Because the soils are so impoverished, this was a particularly outstanding feat, yet what they accomplished was a solution that was so simple and so natural.
As Cramb reported: “Remarkably, a stone with surface area of one square foot will grind into rock flour or dust with a surface area of 8 acres.”
I am sure that no other photos have been reproduced more by Remineralize the Earth than the photos from the Seer Centre.
Here at Remineralize the Earth, we will do what we can to ensure that the legacy of Cameron, his family and the center continue to be remembered and inspire others in the future.
Carter Haydu is a writer, reporter, and journalist based in Alberta and Saskatchewan. He works for JuneWarren-Nickle’s Energy Group, with regular articles appearing in the Daily Oil Bulletin. He is a freelance columnist with the award-winning Quad Town Forum weekly newspaper, based in Vibank, Saskatchewan. He also contributes content for a series of magazines in and around Regina and Saskatoon. He received a BA in Political Science and Philosophy from Augustana University College in 2001 and a diploma in journalism from Grant Macewan College in 2005.
Don Weaver has for 37 years been an ecologist, researcher, writer and organic grower concerned with the health and survival of humanity and the Biosphere. Humanity must quickly transform into the wisely generous species on Earth, if the growing momentum of eco-climatic and health degeneration is to be reversed. He began working with John Hamaker in 1978. John’s early writings inspired an understanding of how local and global soil remineralization with natural gravel (mixed rock) dust can enable us to perpetually grow high-quality crops and trees, the natural foundation for regenerating the socio-ecosphere. John and Don subsequently collaborated to author The Survival of Civilization.
Joanna Campe, as the founder and Executive Director of RTE, raises public awareness of the crucial role of soil remineralization with finely ground rock dust, sea minerals and other natural means to regenerate soils, forests and stabilize the climate. She promotes partnerships with foundations and educational institutions, government agencies, international development agencies, the private sector, and NGOs.