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The Lost History of Organic Farming in Australia

Paull, John (2008) The Lost History of Organic Farming in Australia. Journal of Organic Systems, 3 (2), pp. 2-17.

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It has not been previously reported that the world’s first “organic” farming society was the Australian Organic Farming and Gardening Society (AOFGS) which was founded in Australia in October 1944. The association was based in Sydney, New South Wales, and the first issue of its journal, the Organic Farming Digest (OFD), was dated April 1946. This was Australia’s first, and the world’s second, “organic” farming journal. The eighteen month delay between the founding of the society and the first publication of the journal was because paper was unavailable in Australia for that purpose during WWII. The society published a total of 378 articles in 29 issues from 1946 to 1954. Articles from Australia, UK, USA, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany and Denmark were published. Topics included: farming and gardening; health; environment; politics and economics; and animal welfare. More than 190 authors were published. British authors published included Sir Albert Howard, Lady Louise Howard, Lady Eve Balfour, and Friend Sykes. American authors published included Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, Jerome Rodale, Gaylord Hauser, and Louis Bromfield. Australian authors from the states of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland were published. These included Sir Stanton Hicks, then Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology at Adelaide University, NSW grazier Colonel Harold White, and Tasmanian MLC Henry Shoobridge. More than 130 original articles were published, and other articles were reproduced from many sources including: Organic Gardening (USA); Bio-Dynamic (USA); Soil and Health (UK); Health and the Soil (UK); Mother Earth, (UK); Trees and the Earth (UK); Farmers Weekly (South Africa) and Compost Magazine (NZ). The Society was wound up in 1955, due to lack of financial support. The digests published by the AOFGS document a decade of the thoughts, aspirations, focus, theory and practice of Australia’s first practitioners and proponents of organic farming, from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:history of organic agriculture, history of organic farming, Australian Organic Farming and Gardening Society, Organic Farming Digest, Farming and Gardening Digest, Farm & Garden Digest, Professor Stanton Hicks, Colonel Harold White, first organic farming society, first organic farming association, first institutional organic farming journal, first institutional statement of organic farming principles, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 1940s, 1950s.
Subjects:"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > United States
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Australia
"Organics" in general > History of organics
Farming Systems
Knowledge management
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Germany
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > United Kingdom
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Denmark
Research affiliation: UK > Univ. Oxford
Australia > Australian National University
Deposited By: Paull, Dr John
ID Code:15089
Deposited On:09 Jan 2009
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:38
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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