Thursday, 8 September 2011

History of Organic Agriculture

Looking for the History of organic Agriculture I was surprised to find that it was so heavy on Western names and philosophies.

The origin of the philosophical ideas which are the foundations of Organic are clearly Buddhist and Hindu. Sir Albert Howard '"The father of modern organic agriculture" and his wife Gabrielle spent a lot of time in Indore India. His work there is the origin of composting in western agriculture. It is also, very likely, the origin of the modern western organic farmers care for the soil and soil amendments. His work on An Agricultural Testament was influential for Lady Eve Balfour (the Haughley Experiment, The Living Soil) and J.I. Rodale (Rodale Institute).

Eastern philosophy had a lot to do with Steiner's development of the Biodymnamic practices as well. Not to mention the philosophical influences on the early transcendental and conservationist nature writers.

The Asian Agri-History Foundation (AAHF) is a non-profit organization which uses agricultural history to promote research on sustainable agriculture in the South and Southeast Asia. Historically South Asia has always had strong food security and the most sustainable agricultural management technologies for all its many agroecoregions. Today it is often seen as a food-deficient region in danger of mass-scale starvation, with malnutrition, food insecurity and unsustainable 'green revolution' agricultural practices being massively adopted.

The sustainability of modern agricultural technologies is being reconsidered by organizations like AAHF who look to traditional wisdom and the indigenous, time-tested technologies that have sustained the farmers of South and Southeast Asia in the past. The historical perspective of gradual development of traditional technologies for adaptation and developing appropriate technologies for a truly sustainable agriculture.
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