About Us - Him, Her, Me and Us!

The Base of Lester Cliff , Combe Martin - geograph.org.uk - 216845

Combe Martin - the home of Mother Earth's Minerals and Mother Earth's Garden

When we discovered the importance of volcanic basalt dust, an overlooked natural resource available as a by-product of the road building industry  we were ecstatic. It was realised that we could, in good conscience, give something with essential value back to the Earth from whom we have taken so much. In the process of this discovery, we also learned more about early farmers five thousand years ago who had the benefit of soils much  richer in minerals and trace elements than what we have available to us, the plants we eat and the plants eaten by grazing stock today.

Some of us at Mother Earth's Minerals we have all turned a hand or two to gardening in one form or another; the use of different growing methods and types of fruit and vegetables. We recognize  not only the benefits of growing fresh food of different varieties at reduced costs but having experienced the positive social and psychological advantages to growing our own - especially while working with like-minded people as part of an allotment scheme, garden club or small growers association, we have come to realize that there is both ethic and aesthetics that inspire growers outside one’s own family to share their experiences concerning soil in which they are growing.

We are committed to finding out as much as possible about the benefits of volcanic basalt. Each of us has separately discovered how important minerals are for our individual health and between us, have done research in or have become practitioners of the following subjects:

To the topics above, we have added some research in the study of fossils and the surroundings in which they are foundPalaeontology - which may seem a bit odd amongst the other subjects listed. Our desire to learn as much as possible about the benefits of remineralised soil means we now owe a great deal to one specific dinosaur species, the Apatosaurus and to one individual dinosaur whom we call Mem, our Apatosaurus logo. The life of these particular dinosaurs are closely connected to volcanic basalt and remineralised vegetation during the Jurassic Period, that can be read about in the Science section of the website.

At Mother Earth's Minerals, we agree that there is a significance to the concept of an ecology of place; the importance of the place or places from which a race, culture, community or individual evolves in relationship to their environment - where the ecology helps shape physical development, emotional well-being and spiritual consciousness. The body, mind, spirit relationship is influenced by the conditions of an ecology of place -the region, area, space or home from which we each take so much, but from which we can learn so much more. Gardeners intentionally word in and with such places. The deeper the connection is to the places we occupy gives us an idea as to why our ancestors recognised the sacredness of place - the profound places within the environment that gave back more than food or water, but a sense of spiritual connection to the Earth.

We are interested in working with people who have deliberately sought to grow their own within these types of schemes or as independent specialty growers. These folks have made a decision to do something that enables them to experience the aesthetic and holistic outcome of their labour, experiencing for themselves the benefits of gardening and growing food with less environmental impact than that of large commercial farms that require more resources to operate. 

A well-known American horticulturalist, Arthur Lee Jacobson, once said, " Never call it dirt when you're talking about soil". In horticultural terms, dirt is a lifeless medium that is incapable of growing anything. Though you can get plenty dirty when working with the Earth, there is more benefit than the aggravation of dirty fingernails from working in good soil. The greater benefit is knowing that there is even more we can do to help the soil help us with less social, chemical or ecological impact. Gardeners involved in growing their own food has continued to expand through many different cultures - and we guess that's why we're here.

Stewart Johnson


"My background is as an aeronautic engineer and mechanical technician. Though I still occasionally work in this capacity, my primary tasks today are as that of environmental magician at Cranleigh House and as head horticulturist in Mother Earth's Garden. I use an old-fashion but very successive non-digging method of growing, promoted by Charles Dowding in his little book Organic Gardening: The Natural No-dig Way. I grow crops with the help of Mother Earth's Minerals, used in the compost and applied around individual plants."

While he keeps all things working; mending and inventing, finding creative solutions for practical problems, Stewart continues to think on his feet. He can fix anything, installing a new window and other acquisitions - such as solar tubes to be used for added daylight. Since the acquisition of a large, walled eighteenth century garden, Stewart brings another aspect of sustainability. His organic food is an integral part of the Cranleigh House Cleansing Programme and Yoga Courses which benefit from what he grows. 

This man always applies himself. With an enormous tool cupboard from which to work, he has feelings for all things structural and mechanical - as well as the garden. When he first met Katherine, she asked him, 'Do you have a drill?' His reply was, 'Yes, I come with tools.' Stewart is a very practical person to have around, an asset to the function of the house and its environs, to the garden and Mother Earth's Minerals as a whole.

Stewart began a personal journey of exploration into minerals and health when he developed prostate problems. Being the self-determined bloke that he is, he took it upon himself to find out as much as he could about the function of the prostate gland - gland being the operative word. As Stewart discovered more about how vital of calcium and other minerals were, he began to explore the best sources of inorganic compounds that can’t be made, neither in the human body nor easily acquire from food, even when it’s organic.

Katherine Armitage


A registered homeopath and Stewart's partner, Katherine has been working for three years helping to promote Mother Earth's Minerals in public presentations. Her interest in the origins of mineralized basalt, the history of the animals and plant-life that nourished the beasts during the age of dinosaurs, has helped put a creative twist on a topic that most folk would say was just about 'dirt'. 

Naming her London house Apatosaurus, after the dinosaur whose huge frame has generated a greater interest in skeletal anatomy, was just a bit of added humour that paid off in the end.

"How was it possible for a creature so large, to maintain a skeletal frame substantial enough to hold all that weight?" asks Katherine with a grin, "For the answers, read on, dear reader, read on."

Apatosaurus House sparked an even greater curiosity from the general public when discussions on volcanic basalt began to dominate Katherine's conversations and more education on the subject followed.

Wholesome food is now a key component of the Cleansing Retreats offered at Cranleigh House by the 'team' of Katherine, Stewart and Brigid. The three meet while studying Body Electronics with Peter Hinde, Ph.D., a registered nutritional therapist. Body Electronics is a naturopathic process which incorporates the use of colloidal minerals and enzymes, in addition to the use of organic whole foods, iridology and sclerology in order to reach optimum health. What does this have to do with volcanic basalt? As in all things in nature, all these things are connected, too.

Brigid Hurley


Brigid has always loved learning but her degrees in Environmental Studies and Whole Systems Design came late. She has spent much of her professional life working for non-profit organizations, where she feels ethic and aesthetics work hand in hand; in either an environmentally based or health conscious NGO, she came to realise the importance education played in delivering whatever was at the heart of the services provided by these organizations. As a former teacher, she does that here.

Acute sensitivity and poor respiratory health as a child has given her pause, needing to consider environmental issues early in life as pesticides, cleaning agents, soaps, synthetic materials and pharmaceuticals contributed to her poor health. Once she finally decided to grow up she pursued coursework in environmental studies, ecology and systems theory. Communications and community development issues – such as city reforestation projects and community gardens – have featured in her portfolio. 

A daughter of a farmer, she spent many hours with her feet covered in mud when her dad set the irrigation or watched the wildlife that surrounded their ranch - an American version of our farms in Britain. She routinely observed deer, fox, coyote, bobcat, racoons, skunk and porcupine, the latter being an animal in which the family’s Border collietook too great an interest. She watched hawk, kestrel, woodpeckers, eagles and owls andhas come to appreciate bats and swallows as the most efficient form of chemical - free pest control.

Brigid has said "My dad was secretary to the local soil conservation district for many years, taking me to observe new or old practices that related to soil care. Each year he reseeded our vegetable garden. He sought old varieties of seed and tried new ones, after much research; he used no chemicals and never planted the same crop in the same place, always digging plants in at the end of the growing season”.

 She remembers her father as a man of few words, but never forgot one thing he did say that seemed of vast importance at the time - his own simple philosophy in gardening;  'I plant enough for us, the neighbours and the deer'.

“His care and love of plants, animals and community were passed on to me", she said.

It became Brigid's job to provide the content for this website and make it available to those interested in learning about volcanic basalt and how to use it.

Mem Apatosaurus


Mem the Apatosaurus is our mascot, sales logo and a member of our team at Mother Earth's Minerals. She's been with us for a few years now, nudging us in the right direction, continuously reminding us how she and her family got to be so big - eating foods grown in mineral rich soil, created by volcanoes in the Triassic Period and extensive glaciation that followed after that.

Mem makes our work fun; it makes us smile to know that something as heavy as soil, basalt and the dinosaurs we learned to love as children, are now teaching us things about the distant past that provide us with information that's so beneficial to our nutritive well-being today.