[permaculture] [Fwd:] Tracing the Evolution of Organic/Sustainable Agriculture - A Selected and Annotated Bibliography - Alternative Farming Systems Information Center - National Agricultural Library

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lfl at intrex.net
Thu Jul 31 21:25:12 EDT 2003

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Subject: Tracing the Evolution of Organic/Sustainable Agriculture
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 18:10:42 -0700

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
National Agricultural Library

Tracing the Evolution of Organic/Sustainable Agriculture
A Selected and Annotated Bibliography

Bibliographies and Literature of Agriculture (BLA) no. 72
November 1988

Compiled By:
Jane Potter Gates
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, Information Centers Branch
National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture
Beltsville, Maryland 20705-2351


This bibliography cites writings through which may be traced the evolution of organic/sustainable agriculture and its pattern of 
philosophical and scientific aspects. It is not a comprehensive list, but the interested reader will find authors' references, individual 
bibliographies, and sources within the cited writings which will widen the traced path.

Three recent compilations have been of invaluable assistance in the preparation of this bibliography: R. R. Harwood* and M. C. Merrill*, 
writing in 1983 I and A. M. Scofield* (who wrote a brief article on the origin of the name "organic farming" in 1986) included in their 
writings citations to selected important works, many of which are cited here. In addition, acknowledgment is made.of the work of the 
Canadian "Ecological Agriculture Project" (EAP) of the Macdonald College of McGill University, which has also compiled annotated lists of 
the literature of ecological agriculture and of selected background works of holistic approaches to agriculture.

All of the works cited here are in the collection of the National Agricultural Library, and NAL's call numbers are included in the 
citations. Directly below the call-number is a "cited in" reference which refers to one or more of the following listed authors:

P = Pieters	1927
W = Waksman	1936
N = Northbourne	1940
B = Balfour	1943
H = Harwood	1983
M = Merrill	1983
S = Scofield	1986

This bibliography was compiled under the direction of Jayne MacLean, Coordinator of the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center. Katy 
Bielenberg, clerk-typist, provided valuable assistance.

Persons wishing to suggest additions or changes to this list are invited to contact the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, Rm 
304, Beltsville, MD 20705.

* see References cited in the introduction

    Tusser, Thomas
    Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry
    NAL call no. R30.8 T87
    cited in: Bailey

This classic has been-reprinted almost every century since its original publication. Tusser's maxims include observations of human 
behavior--"Still crop'upon crop many farmers do take, and reap little profit, for greediness sake... 11, observations concerning the 
land--"-and land (overburdened) is clean out of heart", or "if land be unlusty, the crop is not great." He also gives advice by the month, 
frequently in rhyme. "Octobers Abstract" is about the rotation of crops: "Where barlie did growe, laie wheat to sowe, yet better I thinke, 
sowe pease, after drinke. And then if ye please, sowe wheat after pease.11

    Dickson, Adam
    The Husbandry of the Ancients
    Edinburgh: Dickson & Creeca
    V.1, 527 pp; V 2, 494 pp.
    NAL call no. R30.9 D56
    cited in: P

Dickson quotes Columella, Palladius, Cato, Virgil, Pliny, et.al., regarding the knowledge and practice of husbandry, and confesses in the 
preface to be "agreeably surprised to find, that, notwithstanding the great differences in climate, the maxims of the ancient Roman farmers 
are the same with those of the best modern farmers in Britain..."

    Allen, Richard
    A Brief Compend of American Agriculture
    New York: Saxon and Miles
    437 pp. Index.
    NAL call no. 31.3 AL5 1846
    cited in: P

The introduction contains a proposal for establishment of a "National Board of Agriculture," plus recommendations for States' actions, 
particularly re education.

    Wolfinger, John F.
    "Green Manuring and Manures," Report of the U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture for the Year 1864.
    Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1865. pp 299-328
    NAL call no. 1 Ag84 1864
    cited in: P

Lincoln was President when this report was published. Wolfinger defines his subject, tracing its history in Flanders (now Belgium), and 
listing the benefits of, and objections to, the practice of green manuring. He also quotes what "the best agricultural writers say of green 

    Darwin, Charles
    The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms with Observations on their Habits.
    London: Murray. Reprint 1945.
    153 pp. Index. Introduction by Sir Albert Howard.
    NAL call no. 56.12 D45
    cited in: H, M

The real foundation for "the study of the principles underlying farming and gardening...

    Hilgard, Eugene Woldemar
    Soils, Their Formation, Properties, and Relations to Climate and Plant Growth in the Humid and Arid Regions
    New York: Macmillian
    593 pp. Index. List of authors referred to in text.
    NAL call no. 56 H54S
    cited in: M, P

Professor of Agriculture at the University of California and Director of the California Experiment Station, Hilgard originally planned this 
to be a text and reference book, but enlarged its scope to include his soil studies "in the humid and arid regions."

    Elliot, Robert Henry
    The Clifton Park System of Farming and Laving Down Land to Grass.
    London: Simpkin, et.al. 5th ed.
    260 pp. Index. First published in 1898 as Agricultural Changes.
    NAL call no. 32 E152
    cited in: H

The author writes of his more than 30 years' experience in India and in England as a planter and a farmer. He quotes Cato, devotes 
considerable space to Arthur Young, and remarks that proposals to agricultural changes are often met with a response characterized as "What 
we knows we knows, and what we don't know we don't want to know."

    Fletcher, Stevenson Whitcomb
    Soils: How to Handle and Improve Them
    New York: Doubleday, Page
    438 pp. Index. Appendix (includes crop rotations by states).
    NAL call no. 56.7 F632
    cited in: H

Fletcher, then at the Agricultural College of Michigan, attempts here to "set forth the important facts about the soil in a plain and 
nontechnical manner."

    Hopkins, Cyril George
    Soil Fertility and Permanent Agriculture
    Boston, Massachusetts: Ginn
    653 pp. Index. Appendix.
    NAL call no. 56.6 H77
    cited in: M; quoted in King

This book contains chapters on "Theories concerning soil Fertility" and on the Rothamsted Experiments. The final chapter is titled "Two 
Periods in Agricultural History" and contains quotations from Varro (B.C.226 to 28) to Liebig and Lincoln (1859) to King (1910).

    King, Franklin Hiram
    Farmers of Forty Centuries (or) Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, amd Japan
    New York: Harcourt, Brace
    379 pp. Index. 209 illustrations. Preface by L.H. Bailey.
    NAL call no. 34.5 K58
    cited in: H, M, P

King, a chief of the USDA Division of Soil Management, wrote this book after his retirement but did not live to write a final chapter. 
Bailey calls it the "writing of a well-trained observor who went to study the actual conditions of life of agricultural peoples." It is one 
of the most influential of all the works cited, with far-reaching consequences for agricultural practices worldwide.

    Bailey, Liberty Hyde
    The Holy Earth
    New York: Scribner's
    117 pp.
    NAL call no. 30.4 B15
    cited in: M; quoted in Bromfield

"Dean" Bailey, who wrote many textbooks in fields relating to agriculture and who published one volume of verse, writes here on a simple 
"philosophy of rural life."

    Gray, L. C., et al.
    "The Utilization of Our Lands for Crops, Pasture and Forests," U.S.D.A. Yearbook, 1223. pp. 415-506.
    Washington, D.C. Government Printing Office.
    NAL call no. 1 Ag844 1923
    cited in: P

This article reflects the government's views as to the "present situation and future outlook" regarding available resources for the growing 
of food and raw materials which must be supplied by crop lands, pastures and forests. As such, it is both a summary and an estimate.

    Steiner, Rudolf
    Agriculture. A Course of Eight Lectures.
    175 pp.
    NAL call no. S523.S8313-1974
    cited in: H, S

This is the text which is based on the series of lectures Steiner gave in Silesia (E. Germany) in 1924. The lecture series marked the 
beginning of the bio-dynamic agriculture movement.

    Pieters, Adrian John
    Green Manuring
    356 pp. Index. Bibliography.
    NAL call no. 57.5 P61
    cited in: W

Pieters was an agronomist working for the USDA at the time he wrote this book, defining "green manuring," and cover, catch and shade crops. 
The second chapter, a history of the subject, covers China and Japan, Greece and Rome, through the Middle Ages to England and America in the 
19th Century.

    Waksman, Selman Abraham
    Humus: Origin, Chemical Composition, and Importance in Nature
    Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins
    526 pp. Index. Index of Authors. Extensive Bibliography.
    NAL call no. 56 W13H
    cited in: B, H, M; author cited extensively by Pfeiffer

An "attempt to tell the story of humus, its origin from plant and animal residues, its chemical composition, its physical properties, its 
importance in nature, especially in soil processes and in plant growth, and finally its decomposition."

    U. S. D. A.
    Soils and Men: The Yearbook of Agriculture, 1938
    Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office
    1232 pp. Index. Glossary. Literature cited.
    NAL call no. 1 AG844 1938
    cited in: M

More than 100 authors contributed to this yearbook, including William A. Albrecht, then Professor of Soils at the University of Missouri and 
one of the fathers of the ecological agricultural movement. It represents an effort to see "the subject as a whole--scientific aspects, 
practical aspects, social and economic aspects; the needs of individuals, groups, and the Nation."

    Jacks, G. V. and R. 0. White
    The Rape of the Earth: a World Survey of Soil Erosion.
    London: Faber and Faber
    313 pp. Index. 47 illustrations. Published in America under the title Vanishing Lands.
    NAL call no. 56.7 J13
    cited in: B, M, N, and Howard

Frequently cited, this book is a pioneering classic on the subject.

    Howard, Albert, Sir
    An Agricultural Testament
    Oxford: Oxford University Press
    253 pp. Index. Literature. Bibliographies at ends of
    NAL call no. 56.6 H83A
    cited in: B, S, N, M, H

This is the classic study on soil fertility by the "father of the movement." It includes the "Agriculture of the Nations Which Have Passed 
Away" and observations of agricultural practices of both the Orient and the Occident.

    Northbourne, Walter Ernest Christopher James, Lord (Baron)
    Look to the Land
    London: Dent
    206 pp. Index. Bibliography.
    NAL call no. 30 N81
    cited in: H, S

This frequently overlooked early inspirational work includes the first known use of the term "organic farming" in a chapter heading on page 
148, "diversified organic farming a practical proposition."

According to his son, the present Baron, Northbourne felt obliged, when World War II came in 1939, "to recommend to other farms the chemical 
methods of stimulating production" in order to "help feed" the country. "Being an honourable person, he therefore felt that he, too, must 
abandon his organic production and adopt the more conventional methods of fertilising and weed control which were beginning to emerge at 
that time." (Personal correspondence 9/88)

    Balfour, Evelyn Barbara, Lady
    The Living Soil
    London: Faber and Faber
    248 pp. Index. Glossary. Bibliography.
    NAL call no. 56.5 B19
    cited in: H, M, S

Based on 32 years' comparison of organic, mixed and chemical sections of a farm at Haughley, England, this is an extremely readable 
exposition of the evidence in favor of biological agriculture by one of the founders of that country's "Soil Association."

    Faulkner, Edward Hubert
    Plowman's Folly
    New York: Grossett and Dunlap
    155 pp.
    NAL call no. 56.7 F27
    cited in: H

As the title implies, this famous work states that plowing is wrong, and that the moldboard plow is not a satisfactory implement for the 
preparation of land for the production of crops.

    Rodale, Jerome Irving
    Pay Dirt: Farming and Gardening with Composts
    New York: Devin-Adair Company
    242 pp. Bibliography. Introduction by Albert Howard.
    NAL call no. 57.4 R61
    cited in: H, S

The classic statement on the value of soil, this and Rodale's later works sparked and fueled the organic movement in North America.

    Kolisko, Eugen and L. Kolisko
    Agriculture of Tomorrow
    Gloucester: Kolisko Archive
    426 pp., Index. Bibliography.
    NAL call no. 30 K833
    cited in: H

This account of scientific work based on the principles of Rudolf Steiner details the Koliskos controlled experiments on the effects of 
cosmic forces on crop production.

    Bromfield, Louis
    Malabar Farm
    New York: Harper
    405 pp.
    NAL call no. 31.3 B78M
    cited in: H, M

The journal of the famous Ohio farmer/author, this work intersperses anecdotes and history with practical advice and a recounting of his 
experiences. It is a sequel to his earlier book, Pleasant Valley, published in 1945.

    Howard, Louise Ernestine Matthaei
    The Earth's Green Carpet
    London: Faber and Faber
    219 pp.Index. Appendices, including "The Indore Process and its Evolution" and a "List of Books" (including periodicals).
    NAL call no. 30 H83
    cited in: H, M

This is an account of the ideas and principles of Sir Albert Howard written by his second wife, also a proponent of organic agriculture.

    Pfieffer, Ehrenfried
    Soil Fertility, Renewal and Preservation: Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening
    London: Faber and Faber. Rev.ed.
    196 pp. Index. Bibliography. Introduction by E. B. Balfour.
    Published in America as Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening, 1940.
    NAL call no. 30 P47
    cited in: H, M, N, B

Based on Steiner's approach, this book stresses the importance of the "life process (biological process)", with the farm or garden a 
biological organic unit, not a series of unconnected processes.

    Rodale, Jerome Irving
    The Organic Front
    Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press
    198 pp.
    NAL call no. 56.6 R610
    cited in: H, M

Rodale calls the movement "organiculture", the "new, yet age-old method."

    Leopold, Aldo
    A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There
    New York: Oxford University Press
    226 pp.
    NAL call no. 409 L552

In this well-known collection of essays, Leopold presents the case for a land ethic as a product of social evolution.

    Cocannouer, Joseph A
    Weeds: Guardians of the Soil
    New York: Devin-Adair
    179 pp. Brief list of "other books on organiculture" opposite title page.
    NAL call no. 79 C04
    cited in: H, M

Called a "pioneering work" in the advocacy of the controlled use of weeds, this book's author wrote on other subjects having to do with 
modern farming practices.

    Sykes, Friend
    Food, Farming and the Future
    London: Faber and Faber
    294 pp. Introduction by Louise E. Howard.
    NAL call no. 32 Sy4F
    cited in: H, M

An experienced British farmer, the author of this book also wrote Humus and the Farmer and Modern Humus Farming.

    Hainsworth, P. H.
    Agriculture, A New Approach
    London: Faber and Faber
    248 pp. Index. Bibliography. Glossary.
    NAL call no. 30 H12
    cited in: H, M

One of the best early sources of technical information regarding natural fertilizing, this represents an "attempt to gather together 
relevant material that may have some bearing on the results achieved by,..organic methods."

    Wickenden, Leonard
    Gardening with Nature: How to Grow Your own Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers by Natural Methods
    New York: Devin-Adair
    392 pp. Index. Suggested readings.
    NAL call no. 90 W632

Depicted by the author, who has a chemistry background, as largely a 'how-to' book, " this work integrates Wickenden's advice with the 
scientific basis on which the organic concept of plant growth was built. Readers can thus learn both organic gardening practices and how to 
defend them. In 1949 Wickenden had written the popular Make Friends with your Land.

    Easey, Ben
    Practical Organic Gardening
    London: Faber and Faber
    151 pp.Index. Bibliography. Appendices. Lists of gardens, suppliers, and organizations.
    NAL call no. 57.4 Ea7

This is a substantive work on the subject, with a thorough and well-documented framework.

    Turner, Newman
    Fertility Pastures: Herbal Leys as the Basis of Soil Fertility and Animal Husbandry
    London: Faber and Faber
    204 pp. Index.
    NAL call no. 60.1 T85
    cited in: H, M

Also spelled "lea"; the dictionary defines ley as "arable land sown to grasses or clover for hay or grazing and usually plowed and planted 
with other crops after two or three years." Turner boasts that the "herbal ley is my manure merchant, my food manufacturer, and my vet, all 
in one."

    Hunter, Beatrice T.
    Gardening without Poisons
    Boston: Houghton-Mifflin
    318 pp. Index. List of sources; List of suppliers of
    materials. Appendices. List of Organizations interested in gardening without poisons.
    NAL call no. SB975 H91

One of the early works on biological control of insect pests, a 1971 postscript by the author cites research being done by the USDA.

    Poirot, Eugene M.
    Our Margin of Life
    Raytown, Missouri: Acres USA
    159 pp. Introduction by William A. Albrecht.
    NAL call no. S624 AlP6
    cited in: H, M

A farmer/author writes seriously about agriculture, the importance of the soil, and a philosophy based on his observations and beliefs.

    Koepf, H. H., et al.
    Biodynamic Agriculture: An Introduction
    Spring Valley, New York: Anthroposophic Press
    429 pp.Index. Bibliography.
    NAL call no. S605.5.K59
    cited in: H, M

This work was originally published in German so the bibliography is of unusual interest.

    Berry, Wendell
    The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture
    San Francisco: Sierra Club Books
    228 pp. Chapter notes.
    NAL call no. HD1761.B47
    cited in: H

A review/criticism on agricultural policy today, this work presents the author's position: "the care of the earth is our most ancient and 
most worthy, and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility."

    Besson, J. M. and H. Vogtmann, eds.
    Toward a Sustainable Agriculture
    Oberwil, Switzerland: IFOAM
    243 pp. References at ends of articles.
    NAL call no. S605.5.T68
    cited in: H, M

These are proceedings of the lst conference of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), in French, German, and 
English. All IFOAM proceedings are recommended.

    Oelhaf R. C.
    Organic Agriculture: Economic and Ecological Comparisons with Conventional Methods
    Montclair, New Jersey: Allanheld, Osmun, and Company
    271 pp. Index. References.
    NAL call no. S605.5.066
    cited in: H, M

The author, trained in theology, science and engineering, looks at more than just comparative economic issues and presents a detailed study 
of internal and external costs and benefits of ecological and conventional agriculture.

    Jeavons, J.
    How to Grow More Vegetables Than You ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine
    Palo Alto, California: Ten Speed Press
    116 pp. Bibliography.
    NAL call no. SB320.6.J43
    cited in: H

Jeavons, a former systems an analyst, writes a "primer on the life-giving biodynamic/French intensive method of organic agriculture." He is 
involved with "Ecology Action" in Palo Alto, California.

    Walters, Charles, Jr. and C. J. Fenzau
    An ACRES U.S.A. Primer
    Raytown, Missouri: ACRES U.S.A.
    465 pp. Glossary. Index. Field notes. Lists of
    NAL call no. S605.5.W34
    cited in: H, M

A "first reader" in eco-agriculture, this book is written from an organic perspective on the basis of plant and soil science, agronomy and 
pest control.

    Boeringa, R., ed.
    Alternative Methods of Agriculture
    Amsterdam: Elsevier
    199 pp. References.
    NAL call no. S60l.D4 Vol.10
    cited in: H, M

A translation of selections of the famous Dutch report of 1976, this work includes descriptions of each school of ecological agriculture, 
and a literature review on techniques, yields, food quality, impact on the environment, and research recommendations.

    Jackson, Wes
    New Roots for Agriculture
    Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press
    151 pp. New edition 1985. References & notes at ends of chapters.
    NAL call no. S441.J25
    cited in: H

The new edition has a foreword by Wendell Berry and an "afterward" to its conclusion, pp 133-148. Both Berry and Jackson are leaders in the 
movement today.

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Study Team on Organic Farming.
    Report and Recommendations on Organic Farming
    Washington, D.C.: USDA
    94 pp. References at ends of chapters.
    NAL call no. aS605.5 U52

Compiled with the assistance of the Rodale Press survey of The New Farm readers, this study was "conducted to learn more about the potential 
contributions of organic farming as a system for the production of food and fiber." A first for the U.S., it is a general overview of the 
status of organic agriculture in the United States: methods, implications for environmental and food quality, economic assessment, and 
research recommendations.

    Stonehouse, B., ed.
    Biological Husbandry: A scientific Approach to Organic Farming
    London: Butterworths
    352 pp. Index.
    NAL call no. 16 S605.5. S7
    cited in: H, M

This includes "most of the papers" presented at the lst international symposium of the International Institute of Biological Husbandry, 
1980. Sections include: soil structure, flora and fauna, agricultural methods, biological husbandry in the tropics, systems of agriculture, 
and comparative studies.

    Hill, S. B. and P. Ott, eds.
    Basic Techniques in Ecological Farming (Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference, Montreal, 19781
    Basel: Berkhauser Verlag
    366 pp.
    NAL call no. S605.5.B39
    cited in: H, M

This volume and other available proceedings of IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) conferences are highly 

    Altieri, Miguel
    Agroecology; the Scientific Basis of Alternative Agriculture
    Berkeley, California. University of California.
    173 pp.
    NAL call no. S589.7 A4

A review of tempe rate and tropical agroecology, theory and practice, this work includes chapters on the design of sustainable systems, 
traditional peasant agriculture, polyculture, tree cropping, live mulches, minimum tillage, and pest control.

    Lowrance, Richard, Benjamin R. Stinner and Garfield J. House, eds.
    Agricultural Ecosystems; Unifying Concepts
    New York, John Wiley.
    233 p. Index. References at ends of chapters.
    NAL call no. S589.7 A36

Written by 21 of the foremost thinkers on the subject of agroecosystems, the majority of the chapters were presented initially at a 1982 
symposium held during a meeting of the Ecological Society of America.

    Fukuoka, Masanobu
    The Natural Way of Farming: the Theory and Practice of Green Philosophy
    Tokyo, Japan Publications
    280 pp. Index. Translated from the Japanese.
    NAL call no. S606.6 F72

Fukuoka, author of The One Straw Revolution, reiterates his five major principles: no tillage, no fertilizer, no pesticides, no weeding, and 
no pruning. His book deals almost exclusively with farming in Japan, but his message can be viewed from a universal perspective.
References cited in the Introduction
    Harwood, R.R.
    "International Overview of Regeneration Agriculture,"
    Proceedings of Workshops on Resource-Efficient Farming Methods for Tanzania, May 16-20, 1983
    Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press
    12 pp.

    Merrill, M.C.
    "Eco-Agriculture: A Review of its History and Philosophy," Biological Agriculture and Horticulture
    volume 1, pp. 181-210

    Scofield, A.M.
    "Organic Farming--The Origin of the Name," Biological Floriculture and Horticulture
    volume 4, pp. 1-5.

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
National Agricultural Library

The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, afsic at nal.usda.gov
http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/AFSIC_pubs/tracing.htm, June 9, 1997
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