A Book to Make You Commit
One Foot In History, One Foot In the Future
Rodale comes from a long line of organic agriculture advocates (her grandfather, J.I. Rodale, started Organic Farming and Gardening magazine in 1942!), and Organic Manifesto has a wonderful historical perspective throughout. There is no nostalgia for "the good old days" here, no harkening back to a simpler time. Rodale is all too aware 1) the "good old days" had plenty of problems, and 2) there is no stepping back in time.
Large-scale agriculture is here to stay, as she sees it, and there is a world to feed. What Rodale envisions is a future in which all those large-scale farms go organic. What her manifesto calls for is the movement of all agriculture going organic, of moving to organics on a large scale. She wants organic farming practices – no-till farming, compost, cover crops, and crop rotation – to be the norm.
Rodale is clear about what this would entail. She spells out how and why an organic agricultural system would and could work (the fact that organic farming is more labor-intensive is, she points out, a potential bonus in these tough economic times), as well as what we need to get there. Changes in government regulations, a shift in focus for the U.S.D.A., consumer demand, business innovation, and support for farmers as they change from chemical to organic farming are all pillars of her plan. It is ambitious and it is inspiring.
For anyone who thinks organics are all about co-ops and hippies or who thinks organics can't grow enough food or who already knows organic agriculture is a better practice but can't imagine how our entire food system could eschew chemicals, Organic Manifesto is an absolute must-read.