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  • Writer's pictureAnneliese Abbott

Welcome to the History of Organic Farming website!

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

Welcome to the first-ever blog post on my new History of Organic Farming in America website!

I’ve been researching the history of organic and sustainable agriculture since 2015. I finally got my first book, Malabar Farm: Louis Bromfield, Friends of the Land, and the Rise of Sustainable Agriculture published with Kent State University Press. So why start a website now?

The answer to that question lies in the photo accompanying this post. On the left, I’ve stacked up the collection of three-ring binders that house all the notes I took during the four years of research for Malabar Farm. There are thousands and thousands of pages of information there. And keep in mind those are just my notes on my sources. If I stacked up all the actual books, journal articles, and archival documents I read, they would reach to the ceiling multiple times.

Nobody wants to read my notes. Even I rarely have time to go back through all of them. So after I’ve read all the books and articles I want to on a topic, I use my notes to write a working paper. I synthesize all that information, write down absolutely everything I may want to reference in the future, and cite it all with footnotes or endnotes. The middle stack of hanging files in the picture is my current collection of working papers.

But even the working papers have more information than I’ll ever be able to put in a book. I used ten or twelve of them to write Malabar Farm, pictured on the right. As you can see, I collected a lot of interesting information that I had to leave out of the book. I used that extra information to write a series of articles for Acres U.S.A. magazine, which ran from December 2018 to April 2022. At that time the new editor decided to refocus the magazine and discontinued my column.

This website is both a continuation and extension of my Acres column. Like my Acres articles, I will include articles with background information on topics like soil conservation, composting, grass, farming, pesticides, and more. I’ll revamp some of my best biographical articles and add some new ones.

Beyond that, this website will also include some new types of information that didn’t work well with a magazine format. I have already uploaded the transcripts of all the oral histories I have collected so far. I will also be adding bibliographies for each major topic I’ve done a working paper on. Finally, I will include some behind-the-scenes information about the travel and research that went into my Malabar Farm book.

This blog will highlight the new additions I make to the website each week. Subscribe today to be the first to read the new material I upload. And I’m looking for feedback, too. If you’ve read my Acres articles, what were your favorite topics that you’d like to see on the website? If not, what do you like and want more of? This website is for you. Tell me what you think!

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