Gregory A. Barton: The global history of organic farming
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Organic agriculture has evolved from a fringe movement within the agricultural world into a significant component of agriculture and an important player in agricultural policy development. This generated a much needed balance into the continuing debate among business, farmers (large scale vs small scale), and consumers on central issues in society – the provenance, cost, and quality of food. To write a “global history” of any topic is an ambitious task; this book tackles the evolution of the organic farming movement primarily with an emphasis on developments since the turn of the twentieth century. But it is not until the concluding sections of the book that we get some definitions of what organic farming actually is; we do not really learn which of them is the one actually adopted by the author.
Organic farming, from some perspectives, is the avoidance of modern “industrial” inputs altogether – improved seeds, synthetic pesticides, synthetic herbicides, and chemical fertilisers. Some...
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