This post delves deeper into how one false impression in particular is fueling the sense of loss behind organic’s mid-life crisis. Specifically, we’ll examine how the exclusion of synthetic materials, which some within the organic community would elevate to a cardinal principle, actually threatens to drive farmers out of certification, if not out of business entirely.
For better and for worse, the popular understanding of organic agriculture in America is inseparable from the environmental and human health risks associated with pesticides.
Part 11: I couldn’t resist this title for the concluding chapter in our history of organic agriculture. This lyric from the rambunctious odyssey of the Grateful Dead also conveys the myriad twists and turns that have carried organic agriculture from the countercultural fringe to the White House garden and shelves of Walmart.
The screenwriter Rod Serling was a master at portraying the acutely self-conscious angst that drove Americans of the Cold War era to embrace orthodoxy and conformity at the expense of individuality and liberty.
January 7, 2010 Environment 360 “In the past dozen years, three new diseases have decimated populations of amphibians, honeybees, and — most recently — bats. Increasingly, scientists suspect that low-level exposure to pesticides could be contributing to this rash of epidemics.” With all the environmental problems swirling around us, this stunning article provides a glimpse […]
Part 3: Despite a perpetual cold shoulder from the land grant agricultural establishment and the commercial food industry, organic agriculture grew steadily if silently during the 1980s. Each regional farmer group developed its own set of standards that specified the conditions with which a farmer must comply for their farm and the food it produced to be certified, labeled and sold as organic.
Part 2: However insightful it was, the organic vision that Howard and his peers, notably Lady Eve Balfour in England and J.I. Rodale in America, had outlined by 1950 was incompatible with the changes then transforming commercial agriculture. The components of this transformation were not all that new – chemically derived fertilizers and pesticides were introduced in the nineteenth century and hybrid seeds and mechanized tractors became commercially available during the 1920s.