Will Allen gave a fascinating talk to a packed house last night. Mr. Allen is an organic farming visionary. He understands the complexities of farming and the impact of deadly chemicals. He draws from a combination of well-researched scientific knowledge and a rich understanding of organic farming practices.
Although dismayed by the breadth of, and decades over which, the chemical industries have negatively impacted every aspect of our nation’s farming practices, I was encouraged by Mr. Allen’s talk for several reasons. According to Mr. Allen, a worm-less (worms are the bellwethers of good soil) non-organic farm can typically be returned to a healthy and productive state approximately within three years, primarily by adding organic matter to the soil. By choosing to buy organic (as much as one can afford), every one of us can make a difference with our individual and collective purchasing power. I am looking forward to reading and writing a review of Will Allen’s The War on Bugs and am planning a trip this spring to the organic farm and educational center Mr. Allen co-manages, Cedar Circle Farm.
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The War on Bugs (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008) From the publishers’s webpage: Will Allen’s The War on Bugs reveals how advertisers, editors, scientists, large scale farmers, government agencies, and even Dr. Seuss, colluded to convince farmers to use deadly chemicals, hormones, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in an effort to pad their wallets and control the American farm enterprise.
Utilizing dozens of original advertisements and promotions to illustrate the story, Allen details how consumers and activists have struggled against toxic food. Echoing the warnings of seminal works on the topic, like The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, 100,000 Guinea Pigs by Arthur Kallet and F.J. Schlink, and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, The War on Bugs shouts that the time to stop poisoning our food, water, air, and ourselves is now!
About the Author: Will Allen grew up on a small farm in southern California and served in the Marine Corps between the Korean and Vietnam wars. He received a PhD in Anthropology (focused on Peruvian tropical forest agriculture) and taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, before being fired and sentenced to a year in jail for civil rights and antiwar activism. He returned to farming and farm labor full time in 1972 and has been farming organically ever since in Oregon, California, and Vermont, where he now comanages Cedar Circle Farm.