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Organic Food and Agriculture - Ethics

Paull, John (2018) Organic Food and Agriculture - Ethics. In: Thompson, P and Kaplan, D (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics. Springer, Dordrecht, chapter O, pp. 1-7.

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PDF - Published Version - English
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Document available online at: https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-94-007-6167-4_632-1


Organic food is produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Four further exclusions in organic production are: genetically modified organisms (GMOs), irradiation, prophylactic antibiotics, and engineered nanoparticles. These six exclusions differentiate organic agriculture from chemical agriculture. Agriculture and food harvesting and production date back millennia, and until about a century ago that history is de facto organic. The Industrial Revolution ushered in an era of novel production strategies. Agriculture was not immune to new views of industrialization and reductionism. Advances in chemistry enabled some implementation of such views. Early in the diffusion of chemical farming practices, the Austrian mystic Rudolf Steiner (1865–1924) called for a differentiated agriculture free of these new synthetic chemical inputs. The terminology, theory, and practices of biodynamic agriculture evolved (in the 1920s and 1930s) from Steiner’s Agriculture Course of 1924. It was a guided evolution, coordinated by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer (1899–1961) in Switzerland. The UK agriculturist, Lord Northbourne (1896–1982), invited Pfeiffer to lead a conference on biodynamics at his farm in Kent (in 1939). The following year Northbourne published his manifesto of organic farming, “Look to the Land.” In that book, he coined the term “organic farming” and wrote of a contest of “organic versus chemical farming”.The ideas and ideals of organic farming quickly proliferated internationally off the back of Northbourne’s 1940 book. Organic farming is now practiced in at least 179 countries, accounts for 50.9 million agricultural hectares, and a market value of US$ 81.6 billion (€75 billion).

EPrint Type:Book chapter
Subjects: Farming Systems
Values, standards and certification
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > World
"Organics" in general > History of organics
Research affiliation: Australia > University of Tasmania
Related Links:https://www.academia.edu/35179966/Four_New_Strategies_to_Grow_the_Organic_Agriculture_Sector, http://www.academia.edu/9149070/Attending_the_first_organic_agriculture_course_Rudolf_Steiner_s_Agriculture_Course_at_Koberwitz_1924, http://www.academia.edu/9145044/The_Betteshanger_Summer_School_Missing_link_between_biodynamic_farming_and_organic_farming, http://www.academia.edu/18575685/Biodynamic_Agriculture_The_Journey_from_Koberwitz_to_the_World_1924-1938, http://www.academia.edu/9149162/The_Rachel_Carson_letters_and_the_making_of_Silent_Spring, http://www.academia.edu/9254016/Lord_Northbourne_the_man_who_invented_organic_farming_a_biography
Deposited By: Paull, Dr John
ID Code:33285
Deposited On:13 Aug 2018 12:20
Last Modified:13 Aug 2018 12:20
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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