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The Surprising History and Geography of the First "Organic Farming" Association

Paull, John (2008) The Surprising History and Geography of the First "Organic Farming" Association. Paper at: Agri-Food XV, University of Sydney, Australia, 26-28 November 2008. [Unpublished]

[thumbnail of 15097.pdf] PDF - English


Readers of narratives of the history of organic farming in Australia will be familiar with such accounts beginning in the "1980s". In questing after the earliest organic farming society, and more particularly in pursuing the spread of the "organic" meme from its 1940 birth in Britain, it was therefore a great surprise to uncover the Australian Organic Faming and Gardening Society (AOFGS) founded in October 1944. This appears to be the world's first "organic farming" association. It also resets the organic clock for Australia back by four decades. Here was an association, pre-dating the UK Soil Association by two years, formed half a world away from the birthplace of "organic", in a country at war, under food rationing, and with its workforce under Manpower regulations. Yet organic farming principles were clearly articulated by this Society, perhaps as clearly articulated as they have ever been, and particularised for Australia. The Society was constrained from publishing their journal due to wartime constraints on paper. The first appearance of the Organic Farming Digest (OFD) was in April 1946. Thereafter, for nearly a decade, the Society regularly published a journal, with the last issue appearing in 1954. This paper explores the Society; its principles; its journals; its people; its interactions with key organic figures of the time including Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, Eve Balfour, Albert Howard, and Jerome Rodale; its Australian contributors from five states, including Colonel Harold White and Professor Sir Stanton Hicks; its progress and ultimately its demise; and touch on how this history became lost.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:first organic farming society, organic farming journal, principles of organic farming, Australian Organic Farming and Gardening Society, Organic Farming Digest, Farm & Garden Digest, Lord Northbourne, Oxford University, UK Soil Association, The Farmer, Newman Turner, Albert Howard, Ehrenfried Pfeiffer.
Subjects: Environmental aspects
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > United States
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Australia
"Organics" in general > History of organics
Farming Systems
Values, standards and certification
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > United Kingdom
Research affiliation: UK > Univ. Oxford
Australia > Australian National University
Related Links:https://orgprints.org/15089/
Deposited By: Paull, Dr John
ID Code:15097
Deposited On:05 Jan 2009
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:38
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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