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Organizing OrganicConflict and Compromise in an Emerging Market$
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Michael A. Haedicke

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804795906

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804795906.001.0001

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Breaking Ground for a New Agriculture

Breaking Ground for a New Agriculture

Transformation and Expansion during the Organic Sector’s Early Years

Chapter:
(p.25) Chapter 1 Breaking Ground for a New Agriculture
Source:
Organizing Organic
Author(s):

Michael A. Haedicke

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804795906.003.0002

This chapter examines the origins of the transformative and expansionary logics in the organic sector and makes the argument that ideas and practices related to both market expansion and sociocultural change were present during the sector’s early years. It discusses a number of cultural influences that shaped organic farming between approximately 1945 and 1975, including advocacy for alternative agriculture and natural foods, the 1960s counterculture and ecology movements, and mainstream understandings of efficient market organization. The chapter also contends that widespread conflict did not occur, despite the existence of divergent cultural understandings, for two reasons: (1) the organic sector’s decentralized character and (2) the tendency of advocates to downplay tensions between the divergent understandings. These arguments are supported by examinations of farmers’ groups and retailing arrangements and by analysis of the work of the organic advocate J. I. Rodale and other writers in the magazine Organic Gardening and Farming.

Keywords:   organic farming, J. I. Rodale, counterculture, alternative agriculture, natural foods, farmers’ groups, organic certification

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