The Organic Pioneers

Yay!! I’ve lost 25.6 pounds total so far with 54.4 pounds to go to reach my goal!  My BMI has dropped from 36.9 to 33.1 and my goal is 24.9.

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The Organic Pioneers

Since the beginning of the synthetic-chemical experiment, a few important people have not only questioned the use of chemicals, but also explored alternative ways to grow food – often based on historically effective techniques that had been lost or overlooked.

In 1911, F. H. King published Farmers of Forty Centuries, which explored how China was able to grow highly productive crops on the same land for thousands of years by using human and animal fertilizer.

In 1924, Rudolf Steiner gave 8 lectures and later published a book called Agriculture, which became the manual for biodynamic farming.

Sir Albert Howard’s book, An Agricultural Testament, was published in 1940 and introduced the Western world to the techniques of composting that India had used for centuries.

In 1943, Lady Eve Balfour wrote the book The Living Soil, which recognized the importance of soil health to growing food and human health.

She founded the Soil Association in the United Kingdom in 1946.

In 1940, Lord Northbourne wrote Look to the Land.

When J. I. Rodale launched Organic Farming and Gardening magazine in 1942, Sir Albert Howard was a contributing editor.

Rodale was ahead of his time in many ways, but he was also a part of his time.

His magazine served as a voice for a growing chorus of concern, and back then, if you wanted to eat food without chemicals, there was only one way to do it:  Grow your own.

Rodale’s ideas didn’t take hold immediately.

Rather, he encountered outrageous ridicule and prejudice.

The people developing new chemicals labeled Rodale a quack.

By then, most Americans believed, thanks to shrewd marketing, chemicals actually made food safe to eat and plants wouldn’t grow without them.

It was downright unpatriotic to believe otherwise.

But on his little farm in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Rodale continued to experiment.

When he bought the farm in 1940, it was about as unfertile as a farm could be.

He jokes in his book Organic Merry-Go-Round when they first bought the farm, even the rats were miserable.

But with his organic methods, the farm was soon completely regenerated.

When one of the scientific community’s own, Rachel Carson, published Silent Spring in 1962, the world started to take notice of our chemical dependence.

But the public and media focused primarily on DDT, which was only one of many toxic chemicals in use.

The scientific evidence Silent Spring rallied public opinion against DDT, which led to a ban on its use in the United States.

However, it’s still in use today in Africa and India.

The community of organic supporters in America remained small and consisted mostly of independent-minded gardeners and conservationists until the early 1970s.

Then hippies embraced organic farming and food as an avenue for political independence and self-sufficiency and “organic” became a “movement.”

One person from the emerging counterculture, Alice Waters, opened a restaurant in Berkeley, California, and with her leadership, organic gradually changed from primarily a health nut’s pursuit to a gourmet culinary pursuit.

At the same time, in Pennsylvania, Robert Rodale began planning a scientific study aimed at comparing the results of organic farming with those achieved by chemical farming methods (the Farming Systems Trial).

The organic idea began spreading around the world.

Masanobu Fukuoka wrote brilliantly about organic Japanese rice farming in 1978, and Bill Mollison, a Tasmanian, developed the principles of permaculture, which defined an organic approach to a whole landscape.

Yet the term “organic” remained unprotected.

Some states, like California in 1979, passed their own certification laws.

But not until 1990, did Congress pass the Organic Foods Production Act, which directed the USDA to develop national standards for organic products.

The result is the USDA Organic label we now see on many items in supermarkets and other stores.

For 7 long, contentious years, industry leaders, farmers, consumer advocates, a few enlightened scientists, and the government worked to come to agreement on those standards.

When the first set of proposed rules was issued, the public was offered the opportunity to comment.

The USDA received nearly 300,000 comments, most demanding irradiated foods, sewage sludge, and GMOs be prohibited for certified organic products.

That’s more letters (email wasn’t yet in widespread use) than the USDA had received ever before or since.

Today, the USDA Organic label is found in products in almost every supermarket in every state and demand for organic products has never been higher.

Britain’s Prince Charles has an organic farm and business, and is one of the leading advocates for the cause.

First Lady Michelle Obama has joined with local schoolchildren to plant an organic garden on the White House lawn.

And the USDA headquarters has a certified organic garden on its front lawn.

So we’ve won, right?

Wrong.

The amount of organic farmland in the US is less than 1%.

The amount of organic farmland in Europe is slightly more, 4%.

But worldwide the figure is still less than 1% of all agricultural land.

GMOs are now the rule rather than the exception, allowing herbicides like Roundup to be spread indiscriminately around the world in ever greater quantities.

The impacts on our health, environment, and climate are catastrophic.

Come join me on my weight loss journey!  I’d love to have you along!

Have an awesome day!

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If you’d like to read Organic Manifesto, go here Organic Manifesto: How Organic Food Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe

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Dick and Lenay

email: lenay@dickandlenay.com – 715-431-0657

P.S. If your diet isn’t working for you, join me on my weight loss journey here – http://bit.ly/13lxgzD


 

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