Archive for the ‘History and Foundations’ Category

The Anatomy of Greed – An interview with Jeffrey Smith

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

At a recent Acres USA conference I was particularly impressed with a keynote presentation by the International, bestselling author, Jeffrey Smith. His integrity shone through and his research was exceptional. He agreed to the following interview and we spent a fascinating afternoon together. Jeffrey is the world’s foremost expert on the dangers of GM food. He has consulted with world leaders on this issue and has been often quoted in leading media outlets including the New York Times, The Washington Post and Time Magazine. (more…)

Questioning the Status Quo (Part 1)

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

It is essential that we fully understand both our past and our present circumstances to enable the move toward a more sustainable future. Often this involves an honest appraisal of where we are at and how we got there, and to do this we need to look behind the veil at what is really happening. The “veil” in this case involves a bunch of commercially driven assumptions about how agriculture works.  Many of us have blindly accepted the industry message because it has been sold as scientific progress and who are we to stand in the way (more…)

Milestones in Agriculture

Friday, September 19th, 2008

In the mid 19th century, German chemist, Justus von Liebig, later dubbed “the father of chemical agriculture”, analysed the ashes of a plant and deduced that, as the major elements present were nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (The N-P-K of modern agriculture), then these must be the principle elements required for plant growth. Before von Liebig’s discovery it was believed that humus was the major source of nourishment for plant growth. Von Liebig attacked the humus theory vehemently and was able to successfully convince European academics that his simplistic three-element nutrition plan was the “one true way” for any rational scientific community. Von Liebig’s “Chemistry in its Application to Agriculture” was to have such an impact that it still stands as the turning point, where scientific agriculture jettisoned the concept of working with natural processes and cycles, in favour of planned intervention and man-made solutions. Big business, as could be expected, was never far from the state-of-play. (more…)

Founding Fathers – Ream’s Dream

Friday, September 19th, 2008

The visits of US fertility experts, Dr Arden Andersen and Dr Phil Wheeler, to Australia have generated tremendous interest in their unique approach to high-production, sustainable agriculture. Both consultants describe themselves as exponents of the Reams/Albrecht/Callahan approach to fertility management. The triumvirate to whom they refer comprises Dr Carey Reams, Dr William Albrecht and Dr Philip Callahan. These three pioneers are central figures in what has become the most powerful sustainable push in late 20th century agriculture. Alternative agriculture has never sailed so close to the mainstream. Vested interests have always successfully contained and controlled what they have regarded as “organic fringe dwellers”, but a burgeoning grassroots movement, led by conventional growers, appears to be changing this power base. (more…)

Founding Fathers – The Albrecht Heritage

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Dr William Albrecht was above all a student of nature, and perhaps his greatest credential related to the fact that his system worked successfully with, rather than against, nature. As a scientist, writer and educator, Albrecht worked tirelessly to empower the farmer with the knowledge required to increase “real” fertility via soil balance and appropriate nutrition. Unlike earlier resistance fighters like Austrian Rudolf Steiner, Albrecht’s approach remained practical and accessible. While Steiner philosophised about cosmic forces and spiritual influences in agriculture (alienating more than he converted), Albrecht set about delineating actual measurable parameters of fertility. (more…)