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The Myth of the Peasant in the Global Organic Farming Movement

Abstract

Organic farming activists have promoted the idea that ancient peasant wisdom informed the basic principles or Albert Howard’s Indore method, and of organic farming generally. The myth of the peasant origins of organic farming has influenced environmental activists and historians alike and concealed the remarkable contributions of Albert Howard and his first and second wives, Gabrielle and Louise Howard. A few statements made by Howard himself, and by his second wife, Louise, inspired the myth of peasant origins of organic wisdom. But a closer look at the published and unpublished writings of the Howards show that the formulation of the Indore method, which lies at the heart of organic farming, is a strict scientific protocol with its roots in the scientific work of Albert Howard and his cohorts.

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E-mail: g.barton@westernsydney.edu.au
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Gregory A. Barton is Professor of History at Western Sydney University and Senior Research Associate in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg. Address: Professor Gregory A. Barton, Western Sydney University, School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW, 2751, Australia. 61 (02) 9772 6322. The author thanks the Matthai family for making private family archives available for this work.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Gregory A Barton . “Albert Howard and the Decolonization of Science: From the Raj to Organic Farming.” In Science and Empire: Knowledge and Networks of Science in the British Empire 1850–1970, edited by Brett Bennett and Joseph Morgan Hodge, 163186. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

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Gregory A Barton . Informal Empire and the Rise of One World Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Gregory A Barton . “Sir Albert Howard and the Forestry Roots of the Organic Farming Movement.” Agriculture History 75:2 (Spring. 2001): 168187.

Stephen N Hay . “Rabindranath Tagore in America.” American Quarterly 14:3 (1962): 444446.

Ronald Inden . “Orientalist Constructions of India.” Modern Asian Studies 20:3 (1986): 401446.

Eugene Lunn . “Cultural Populism and Egalitarian Democracy: Herder and Michelet in the Nineteenth Century.” Theory and Society 15 (1986): 479517.

C. B. Tanner and R. W. Simonson . “Franklin Hiram King—Pioneer Scientist.” Soil Science Society of America Journal 57:1 (1993): 286292.

Romila Thapar . “Imagined Religious Communities? Ancient History and the Modern Search for a Hindu Identity.” Modern Asian Studies 23 (1989): 209231.

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Itinerario
  • ISSN: 0165-1153
  • EISSN: 2041-2827
  • URL: /core/journals/itinerario
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