An Overview of the Philosophy and History of Organic Agriculture


hello my honour is Debra Cavanaugh grant I’m a neighbourhood food systems and small-minded farm educator working for the University of Illinois Extension today we’ll be discussing an overview of the philosophy and record of organic agriculture today we will cover a brief discussion about what is organic agriculture we’ll learn a little bit more about some of the historic digits in organic agriculture ending with a brief history of the National Organic Program and how we got to where we are today Organic Agriculture is the oldest pattern of Agriculture on earth farming without the use of petroleum-based compounds both fertilizers and pesticides was the sole option for farmers until post-world War two the war brought with it technologies that were useful for agricultural production for example ammonium nitrate used for munitions during World War two evolved into ammonium nitrate fertilizer organophosphate nerve gas production led to the development of potent insecticides these technological advanceds since World War two have was instrumental in substantial economic benefits as well as environmental and social detriments organic agriculture seeks to use those improvements that regularly yield advantages such as new mixtures of pastures accuracy AG technologies or more efficient machinery while disposing those methods that have led to negative impacts on society and the environment such as pesticide pollution and insect pest fight instead of using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides organic farmers use crop rotations cover pastures and natural based concoctions to maintain or improve grime fertility these farmers are dependent upon biological racial and physical methods to limit pest stretch and increase people of advantageous insects on their raise because genetically modified animals constitute synthetic inputs and constitute unknown dangers GMOs such as herbicide resistance seeds floras and produce parts like GM lathis n’ are disallowed in organic agriculture the fundamentals of organic farming and the ideals of territory stewardship are not new as you know there was a major switch in agriculture during and following World War two as a result of technological advances acquired earlier in the century as well as food shortages suffered during the war synthetic fertilizers were affordably produced and tractors were quickly changing manual labor some farmers experienced the potential detriment of this industrialized farming and rebuffed the idea that this was advancement in agriculture they began to study and develop techniques that raise the long term productivity of their raise organization and practise farming as overseers of the region this type of farming came to be known as organic the USDA National Organic Standards Board and we’ll talk about them more in a little bit define organic agriculture as an ecological production management system that promotes and improves biodiversity biological hertzs and soil biological activity it is based on minimal operation of raise inputs and on management practices that restore maintain or intensify ecological harmony the most important goals of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life plants animals and people what does the word organic signify simply stated organic produce and other ingredients are germinated without the help of pesticides synthetic fertilizers sewage sludge genetically modified beasts or ionizing radiation swine that create meat poultry eggs and dairy concoctions is not take antibiotics or expansion hormones numerous beings both those new to as well as those active in organic agriculture are unaware of the important role played by various key individuals in the development and diffusion of organic farming ideas these include Sir Albert Howard lady Balfour luis Brumfield rachel carson fh king walter northward endure ji Rodale robert Rodale and rudolf steiner although numerous concepts of organic farming predate his study Sir Albert Howard is often referred to as the quote-unquote father of modern agriculture he was raised on a raise in England and acquainted at Cambridge University he briefly sufficed from 1899 to 1902 as a mycologist in the Imperial Dept of Agriculture for the West Indies before returning to England to teach agricultural discipline at southeastern Agricultural College and why in 1905 with his wife Gabrielle he began work as an agricultural advisor in Indore India where he said the methods of cultivation adopted by local farmers and peasants it was there that he learned and began promoting composting techniques that return nutrients to the soil he lived in India for 26 times serving as the director of various agricultural research centers before permanently returning to England in 1931 Sir Albert Howard went on to document and develop organic farming proficiencies and to spread his insight through the uk-based Soil Association and the Rodale Institute in the United Position his 1940 book an agricultural Testament firstly be made available in the US and 1943 is a classic organic farming text his work influenced and inspired many farmers and agricultural scientists who furthered the organic flow including Lady Eve Balfour and ji Rodale who we’ll talk about next in the first assembly Balfour states that quote the maintenance of the fertility of the soil is the first surrounding of any permanent organization of Agriculture in the ordinary processes of crop production fertility is steadily lost its incessant restoration by means of manuring and soil management is therefore imperative end quote he then goes on to suggest that in order to study soil fertility one needs to look at quote the various systems of Agriculture which so far have been evolved these included firstly the methods of nature the supreme farmer as considered to be in the primeval forests in the Prairie and in “the worlds oceans” second agricultural purposes of the nations which have passed away third these best practices of the Orient which have been almost unaffected by Western science and lastly the methods in vogue in regions like Europe and North America to which a large amount of scientific attention has been paid during the last hundred years Howard studied the traditional farm practises used by India’s peasant farmers and the pests and weeds that conventional agricultural scientists were committed to fighting with an ever widening array of pesticides “hes seen” pests in the context of nature’s use for them as sensors of grime fertility heights and as indicators of unsuitable harvests growing in unsuitable conditions while Howard recognized the significance of Justus von Liebig writings on agricultural chemistry he was not a fan Howard thought that Liebig had led agriculture astray by energetically addressing the issue of houmous conjecture of weed nutrition and promoting the quote unquote and PK mentality that is the practice of fertilizing merely or principally with inorganic sources of nitrogen phosphorus and potassium one of Howard’s prime denunciations was that Liebig focused his attention on soil chemistry to the neglect of soil biology and physics howard’s hard-line opposition to the use of quote unquote artificial fertilizers is often considered bigotry but is really not any more extreme than Lee Biggs absolute concept of flowers expending mention unquote only in organic sort of nutrients regrettably Howard’s stance on fertilizers contributed to the common but mistaken impression that organic farming is simply farming without the use of synthetic fertilizers and other agrochemicals in raising and gardening for state or disease later published as soil and health howard introduced the idea that disease whether in plants animals or humans was caused by unhealthy soil and that suitable raising procedures would determine the clay and those living on it health during his years as a scientist working for the British government in India Sir Albert Howard conceived of and refined the principles of organic agriculture howard’s the clay state becomes a influential and inspirational text in the organic flow soon after its publication in 1945 the clay and health argues that industrial agriculture emergent in Howard’s era and reigning today interrupts the delicate balance of nature and irreverently robs the grunge of its birthrate Howard’s classic exposition ties-in the burgeoning health crisis facing harvests cattle and humanity to this progressive deterioration of the Earth’s soil his meaning that we must respect and recover the health of the soil for the benefit of future generations still reverberates among those who are concerned about the consequences of chemically deepened agriculture now I’d like to share some information about a colleague of Sir Albert Howard Lord Northbourne Lord Northbourne was born Walter Ernest Christopher James the fourth Baron of North Berne of Kent England he was an agriculturist educator translator and novelist on both agriculture and comparative doctrine he was civilized at Oxford and was for many years Provost of Y College the Agricultural College of London University Lord north barn was a keen agronomist and wrote an influential book in 1940 announced ogled to the land in this book north born introduced the term quote/ unquote organic farming to the world as well as the concepts related to managing a raise as a quote unquote organic whole another peer of Lord North barn and Sir Albert Howard was lady Eve Balfour she was an English farmer educator organic farming pioneer founding figure in the organic fluctuation she was one of the first ladies to study agriculture at an English University graduating from the University of Reading her ideas inspired the formation of the Soil Association in England with other farmers scientists and nutritionists she began raising in 1920 in Holly Greene Suffolk England in 1939 she propelled the Holly experiment the first long-term side-by-side scientific comparison of organic and chemical located farming in 1943 she publicized the organics classic the living clay a record compounding her investigate with the initial detects at Holly in 1946 she co-founded and became the first president of the Soil Association an international organization promoting sustainable agriculture that still exists today she raised wrote and chided for the rest of her life when the Holly experiment was terminated in the 70 s the results were not as clear as had been hoped hardly surprising since we still have a poor understanding of how to measure soil and food quality but the venture cured clarify how the best of old and brand-new heritages in acre husbandry could be effectively mixed this individual is probably familiar to many of you ji jerome irving Rodale was a playwright journalist generator and publisher he advocated a return to sustainable agriculture and organic farming in the United Country he founded a publishing Empire with several publications and many notebooks on state and wellness he also published works on a wide variety of other topics Rodale disseminated the period mention unquote organic to intend grown without pesticides as an American financier he was a very successful entrepreneur who started out manufacturing electrical switches ji Rodale read some of howard’s writings and was so moved by howard’s vision he described its own experience as like being hit by a ton of bricks that he acquired a farm near Allentown Pennsylvania and began experimenting with composting and organic farming procedures in 1942 Rodale began publishing organic farming and gardening magazine mr.Albert Howard serving as the accompany editor through this store and other booklets Rodale popularized organic notions in the United State rodeos 1945 bible pay dirt with an introduction by Howard inserted organic farming perceptions to a wide audience for approximately the next two and a half decades ji Rodale promoted organic notions with missionary zeal and probably did more than anyone else to increase awareness and interest in organic gardening and farming in the United Mood both Howard and Rodale find the conflict of organic versus mainstream agriculture as a fight between two different seeings of what agriculture should become as they engaged in a war of words with the agricultural establishment an interesting aside in June 1971 while a client on the Dick Cavett show ji Rodale unexpectedly died in an interview with Dick Cavett several years later he said that during the conversation ji Rodale said I’m going to live to be a hundred if you’d like to watch the interrogation with Dick Cavett you can click on the link below the next person I’d like to talk about in the history of organic farming is FH King Franklin hiram King was born on a raise near whitewater Wisconsin in 1848 at a time when the arrive was still a territory King spent three years as a discipline coach in Berlin Wisconsin and publicized his first book a programme for bush analysis in 1876 at Cornell University where he studied for two years King examined the stomach contents of two thousand fledglings to be informed about exactly what they ate while also studying chemistry and physics in 1888 King was called to the chair of the agricultural physics at the University of Wisconsin where he learnt for a number of years and publicized diaries on sewage ventilation of constructs he’s the person that developed the cylindrical silo and the physics of agriculture from 1901 to 1904 he sufficed as the chair of the division soil management with the USDA his faiths were seen as threatening the theories of Milton white the then chief of the USDA Bureau of soils and white apparently thrust him to abdicate King returned to Madison and began to work his notes into a series of volumes and in 1909 “hes taking” the extended nine month journeying to China Korea and Japan that led to his journal farmers of 40 centuries this record is working with what King learnt as the impending question of agriculture in the Western world soil depletion King was an expert on the chemistry and physics of soil and he realized during the first decade of the 20 th century that some American farmland was playing out only after a few cases generations of Agriculture another important pioneer in organic farming is Rudolf Steiner during the last decades of the 19 th century the Austrian board Rudolf Steiner became a respected and well publicized scientific literary and theoretical academic peculiarly knows we his work on golf scientific writings after the beginning of this century he began to develop his earlier theoretical principles into an approaching to methodological investigate of mental and spiritual phenomena his multifaceted genius has led to innovation and holistic approachings in remedy science education he’s the founder of the Waldorf class special education philosophy religion financials agriculture he’s the person who’s developed the biodynamic method structure drama as well as other arenas in the early 1920 s Rudolf Steiner sacrificed a series of castigates on the spiritual groundworks for the renewal of Agriculture which motivated the development of biodynamic agriculture biodynamic agricultural has much in common with other organic approachings such as emphasizing the production and use of compost and excluding the use of synthetic inputs techniques unique to bio dynamics includes the use of fermented herbal and mineral formulations as compost supplements in domains scoot and the use of an astrological set docket the next person I’d like to discuss is dr.William Albrecht William Albrecht was the prime official on the relation of grunge fertility to human health and made four units from the University of Illinois he went on to be emeritus professor of soils at the University of Missouri dr. Albrecht discovered a direct link between soil quality and food quality he selected direct connections between poor quality food pastures and ill health and livestock he likewise developed cornerstone position requirements for soil nutrients which are still being used throughout his life dr. Albrecht ogled to nature to guide his research and learn what optimizes grunge bush animal and even human health fair Leon in his research Albrecht attributed countless common disease conditions found in livestock immediately to those swine being fed poor quality feeds in Albrecht’s mine that meant forage grown on soils that were deficient in essential component leant yet another way Albrecht insightfully observed that food is made grime birthrate physician Albirex collection of research and papers now belongs to the sustainable agriculture periodical acres USA in preparing for today’s presentation it was difficult to decide what beings to include one of the reasons I adopted loose chocolate-brown orbit you might wondering why is an American author in this list of influential people in the area of organic agriculture was I had the opportunity many years ago to visit his farm in Mansfield Ohio called Malabar Farm and subsequently I read the book Pleasant Valley that was really inspiring to me so I just like to share a little bit about him Lois brownfield was an American author and conservationist who gained international recognition winning the Pulitzer Prize for his novel early autumn all of his thirty bibles were bestsellers and numerous such as the rainwaters came and mrs.Parkington were started into successful moving-picture show as well as for his founder inventive technical farming abstractions born on a raise in eastern United District he studied at Cornell Agricultural College and Columbia University receiving honorary wor degree in 1920 during World War one Bromfield met the American Ambulance Corps and was decorated for his business in 1932 he inspected India and the excursion provoked his most famous book the rainwaters came one of the central themes in brownfields work is the contrast between metropoli and the country he saw the farm as a sanctuary from the mechanized macrocosm in 1939 after living in France for over ten years Lewis brownfield returned to Ohio and acquired Malabar farm near Mansfield brownfield dedicated the rest of his life to agriculture and sought to create a farm that promoted Soil Conservation but also continued to write books and articles his later diaries including Pleasant Valley focused on soil conservation and other cultivate concerns an interesting aside and when I was at the farm we had a chance to visit the residence was that Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart were married at Malabar Farm in 1945 if Howard Belfour and Rodale amassed the kindle needed to ignite what we call organic agriculture Rachel Carson unquestionably provided this bark more than that Carson created a depth and precision of vision that abolished the conventional technical thinking of her daytime in the same way that Darwin and Einstein had in theirs bear in 1907 and reared in meagre situations or the Allegheny Mountains near Pittsburgh Carson’s early flair for imaginative writing applied direction to a passion for biology that conducted her to a master’s degree from John Hopkins always among the first women in her accomplishments Carson started on a PhD but withdrew to become the breadwinner for her extended family after her parent passed out in 1935 she became only the second full-time professional maid hired by the Federal Bureau of fisheries and displayed a dexterity for translating technological cloth into enjoyable and instructive prose for publish and radio delivery as we all know Carson’s undertaking produced the crowning accomplishment of her occupation Silent Spring published in 1962 Silent Spring was a data intense densely footnoted exertion constituting the most comprehensive cost-benefit analysis yet conducted on a multitude of newly introduced synthetic pesticides of greater significance than the fine print behind the science and Silent Spring is the spirit within its vision that propelled both the mass organic advance and the sweeping environmental consciousness of the 1960 s the last person we’re going to discuss today is Robert Rodale he’s regarded as the father of the modern organic agriculture advance mister Rodale isn’t a very influential person to me personally in my occupation and my understanding of organic agriculture I had the opportunity also many years ago to meet him in person and tended to her at the Rodale Institute Robert Rodale was born in 1930 in New York City and moved soon after his birth to emmaus Pennsylvania Robert participated “his fathers” at the Rodale press in 1951 as an editor his first work was to read the galley proofs for the organic farmer which was a precursor to organic gardening Inlet and the later New Farm magazine he worked alongside his father as president of Rodale press until as we discussed his father’s untimely demise in 1971 he continued his work with the family publishing firm and the nonprofit agricultural study organization that work included editing the high circulation Prevention magazine he was the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Rodale press at the time of his death by gondola collision in Russia in 1990 shortly after his father died his son Robert bought a three hundred and thirty-three acre farm near Kutztown Pennsylvania which later became the Rodale Institute he began hiring scientists with strong bickers and launched an age of organic validation through research strong affidavit by Robert as well as many organic farmers and scientists convinced the US Congress to include funds for organic agriculture in the 1985 raise statement this was the beginning of an ongoing process of scientific validation and refinement of organic agriculture by research and education programs the farming organizations test at Rodale Institute is America’s longest running side-by-side comparison of organic versus conventional farming it was started in 1981 to study what happens during the transition from chemical to organic agriculture the farming methods tribulation caught a meat parish that still flouted at organic rules after an initial decreased in produces during the first few years of transition the organic organization soon rebounded to match or surpass the conventional system over time the farm organization experiment became a comparison between the long term potential of the two systems an interesting aside the Rodale Institute a public nonprofit Institute was started by Jay I in 1947 and initially called the soil and health foundation in an oral biography interrogation with Jane gates Robert Rodale shared that the foundation lobbied funds in the 40 s and 50 s from books of organic garden to approval investigate by universities for organic farming but paraphrase they could not find a single University to accept the money and paraphrase in the 1970 s the figure was changed to the Rodale Institute an interesting aside the Rodale Institute a public non-profit Institute was started by Jay I in 1947 and initially called the soil and Health Foundation in an oral autobiography interview with Jane doors Robert Rodale shared that the foundation begged stores in the 40 s and 50 s from readers of organic garden to substantiate investigate by universities for organic farming but excerpt they could not find a single University to accept the money in the 1970 s the specify was changed to the Rodale Institute the period from 1979 to 1990 may be described as the age of approval for organic farming at a national level in the United Regime with a thriving public interest in organic food and raising interest in establishing standards for organically produced meat also increased in 1979 the USDA labelled a unit of scientists to conduct a study of organic farming in the US and Europe the study did various things firstly it assessed the nature and task of organic farming second analyse the motivations of why farmers changed to organic techniques third explored the broad socio-political character of the organic push fourth assessed the nature of organic technology and management systems five evaluated the level of success of organic farmers and the economic impacts expenditures benefits and the limitations to organic farming six recognized the research and education programs that would benefit organic farmers and seven recommended the action plan for implementation in this study they came up with a clarity about organic farming and we can see it now organic farming is a production system which bypass or principally eliminates the use of synthetically compounded fertilizers pesticides raise regulators and cattle feed additives to the maximum extent feasible organic farming systems rely upon crop rotations crop residues animal fertilizers legumes lettuce manures off-farm organic garbage mechanical production mineral digest boulders and aspects of biological pest ascendancy to maintain soil productivity and tilth to supply plant nutrients and to control bugs weeds and other pests in the late 1970 s under the direction of the secretary of agriculture robert Bergland the usda began surveying the organic farming sector the results were published in 1980 in a publication entitled report and recommendations on organic farming with a stated purpose of quote in the communications between organic farmers and the USDA and I still have my original facsimile of this publication in 1981 the American Society of agronomy supported a symposium on organic farming in the symposium they invited the issues to can organic farming contribute to a more sustainable agriculture the conclusion the most probable answer is that it most definitely can this new attention and acceptance had contributed to a resentment in 1981 from the incoming Reagan administration which tried unsuccessfully to end distribution of the USDA report and recommendations on organic farming the Reagan administration rescinded the recently established position of organic sources coordinator which was held by Garth Youngberg who had been a member of the USDA study team for organic farming more and more farmers were accepting a diverse reach of alternative rehearses designed to reduce dependence on synthetic chemical pesticides fertilizers and antibiotics they were cutting costs increasing earnings in reducing the adverse environmental consequences of agricultural production alternative agriculture described the increased apply of these brand-new practices and other changes in agriculture since world war ii they examined the role of federal programme in encouraging this progression as well as parts that were beginning farmers to look for profitable environmentally safe alternatives eleven speciman studies explored how alternative farming approaches were adopted and with what fiscal outcomes on farms of various sizes from California to Pennsylvania to recap some of the things we’ve discussed in the 1940 s customers growers retailers and other agricultural stakeholders reacted to the industrialization of Agriculture to mold a new paradigm for agricultural products an coming that shunned chemical inputs over season consumer demand for organic food increased by the 1980 s stakeholders in the organic food industry had requested the creation of federally regulated touchstones to facilitate national and international trade as a consequence of what had begun in the early part of the 20 th century as a grassroots exertion the organic foods production Act of 1990 installed the National Organic Program as well as the National Organic Standards Board called the nos be the nos B has created uniform standards for organic product and ensures buyer trust in all products labeled organic in the marketplace the purpose of this was to establish these national the criteria for organic commodities in order to assure shoppers that organically produced products match a consistent standard and to facilitate interstate commerce in fresh and handled organic food the outlet out to do three things first to establish national touchstones governing the marketing of organically produced makes second to ensure purchasers that organically make makes meet a consistent criterion and three to facilitate interstate commerce in both fresh and treated organic foods full development of these standards took more than a decade initially the proposed standards did not prohibit the use of sewage sludge food irradiation and genetically altered animals these parts resulted in huge public protest which eventually led to their removal from the final rules the organic foods production Act of 1990 one of the purposes of the 1990 raise money granted the Secretary of Agriculture to appoint a 15 representative National Organic Standards Board called the nos B the board’s main mission is to assist the secretary in developing standards for substances to be used in organic yield the nsop also advises the secretary and other aspects of implementing the National Organic Program the first nos B was appointed by then secretary Edward Madigan in January 1992 representatives from the initial timber serve floundered terms of three four or 5 year all precede committee nominees act five-year periods the current board is comprised of four farmers or growers two handlers or processors one retailer one scientist three customer/ Public Interest advocates three environmentalists and one USDA accredited showing negotiator who sit in on various committees representatives is just coming up all four regions across the United Countries the National Organic Standards address the methods practices and elements used in producing and handling pastures livestock and processed agricultural products the standards be clarified that in general all-natural non synthetic substances are permitted in organic production and all synthetic substances are prohibited the national list of stood synthetic and prohibited non synthetic substances contains specific objections to the rule the National Organic Program is a regulatory planned apparently and it’s housed within the United Position Department of Agriculture agricultural sell service and if you would like more information about this program you can look at the website below they too have a weekly or several times a month they send out a publication to people who are interested in in order to be allowed to subscribe to that at that website I’d like to go this opportunity to acknowledge my appreciation to dr.Joel Gruber for the publication history of organic agriculture that was a great resource for the development of this presentation the next four slides are cites and further reading considering organic agriculture you lastly I’d like to end today’s present with some information about a great resource available from the University of Illinois Extension the neighbourhood food systems and tiny farm team has developed an internet site and on the website are various items of interest for farmers in general one of these is organic agriculture on these sheets is information about certification result yield a general information category autobiography which we talked about a lot today organizations and vegetable make if you’re interested in know more about organic agriculture I’d suggest that you check this website out at the URL listed below I’d like to thank you for attending today’s presentation if you’re interested in contacting me about additional information or have some questions or notes about today’s introduction you can reach me at my phone number or my email address below thank you


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here