Eleven year old, Birke Baehr, does a great job outlining the problems of our food system…
If you watch it at the TED site, read the comments. Very interesting. It’s a great microcosm of the big debate going on over food right now. On one side — “We need all these chemicals to feed the world!” On the other side — “We are killing the Earth and the people with our food!”
No one knows more about organic than these guys.
There is a web-based resource that keeps getting better and better, and so you should know about it.
eXtension’s Organic Agriculture portal is a wealth of information on every aspect of organic farming. Next to ATTRA, it is becoming THE place to go for organic information. It contains a constantly growing collection of articles submitted from across the country, articles that address issues and topics pertinent to organic farmering. Yes, I said “farmering” (a new term I just invented.).
Of course, for the ultimate organic resource list of lists, click on “Organic Resources” at the top of this page.
"I've decided to live to be 100."
I was reading through the object of my previous post — Historical Development of Organic Agriculture — when I stumbled across an incredible fact I had never heard before.
Anyone with a modicum of interest in organic farming will recognize the name Rodale. There are two Rodales, Jerome and his son Robert. Jerome was a successful businessman who became fascinated with natural farming methods, bought a farm and founded a publishing empire, writing and selling books on the natural life-style and organic farming. So controversial were his books that the Federal Trade Commission ordered him to stop selling them, claiming the advice therein was not consistent with modern medical science. The resulting legal fight went on for 20 years, and put at risk Jerome’s entire estate. By the end of it, doctors who had testified against Rodale at the beginning of the case were denouncing their earlier testimony, because subsequent medical research had proven Rodale’s ideas to be valid.
In 1971, Jerome’s picture appeared on the front page of the New York Times. Dick Cavett needed another guest for his show that night. They invited Jerome to appear. He did, and during the taping of that show, before a live audience, Jerome I. Rodale had a heart attack, and died.
There’s a wonderful account (if I can use that word) of the event HERE. It’s very interesting…
When I’m doing an appearance somewhere and taking questions from the audience, I can always count on: “Tell about the guy who died on your show!” I generally say, “I will, and I promise you that in a few moments you will be laughing.” (That gets a laugh.) I go on: “First, who would be the logical person to drop dead on a television show? A health expert.” (Laugh.) I go on to explain that he was Jerome I. Rodale, the publisher of (among other things) Today’s Health Magazine. (Laugh.) The irony gets thicker.
Robert Rodale, Jerome’s son took up the work. The Rodale Institute is still thriving and publishing cutting edge research and information on living healthfully and growing things without chemicals. Robert died in 1990 in an automobile accident in Moscow. He was in the Soviet Union to establish a Russian-language edition of The New Farmer.
After careful study, we've determined the liklihood of the presence of soil at this location.
Organic didn’t start with the Hippy movement of the 60s. The intellectual foundation of natural, regenerative, sustainable, chemical-free farming goes way back.
If you want to learn more, this link will connect you to a YouSendIt download page for an Acrobat Adobe slide show presentation titled, Historical Development of Organic Agriculture.
It contains some great old images and texts from before the chemical (de)revolution.
The author of the presentation is Dr. Joel Gruver, School of Agriculture, Western Illinois University. He developed it for his Intro to Sustainable Ag class.
[NOTE: the YouSendIt link will only be live for a week.]
Here’s another cool Chicago-based program. The Organic School Project, run by Greg Christian, is doing good work. There are resources and opportunities to donate and get involved.
The program uses organic gardening to teach kids about food and change their eating habits. It is common knowledge that school food is typically lousy, and the allowance of soda and other junk food vending machines in our schools should be a crime. There are a growing number of projects aimed at improving food in schools. Improving school food should be an integral part of the growing school reform movement going on right now. Good, fresh, healthy food has been shown to help in the areas of learning, attention span, classroom behavior, etc.
I think every school should have its own farm and full-time farmer on staff. Fresh food for the school. A ready market for the farmer. An incredible outside class room for the students.