• A history of the organic agriculture movement in Australia

    John Paull (see profile)
    History, Idea (Philosophy), Sustainability, Sustainable development, Anthroposophy
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Organic farming, agricultural history, Rudolf Steiner, History of ideas, Ecological humanities
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    This account begins in the 1920s, which is six decades before other accounts which have been styled as the ‘History’ of ‘Organic Farming in Australia’ and which begin their accounts in the 1980s. The organic agriculture movement in Australia has been a ‘fast follower’ of ideas that originated elsewhere. Australia’s involvement in the organic movement can be considered as four ‘waves’ of activity. The First Wave (1920s and 1930s) is anchored by Rudolf Steiner’s 1924 call at Koberwitz for a differentiated agriculture. Australian anthroposophists responded to this call by joining Steiner’s Agricultural Experimental Circle which was coordinated from Dornach, Switzerland. The Second Wave of organic agriculture in Australia (1940s and 1950s) is anchored by the coining of the term ‘organic farming’ in 1940, in England. This Second Wave witnessed the founding of the first associations in Australia dedicated to the advocacy of organics. The Australian Organic Farming and Gardening Society (AOFGS) was founded in 1944 in Sydney. The Third Wave (1960s and 1970s) is anchored by the publication of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring in 1962 which breathed new life into the organics movement worldwide. A plethora of new associations and periodicals for the promotion, advocacy of organics appeared in the two decades that followed Carson. The Fourth Wave (1980s to present) is anchored by the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine in April 1986. Radioactive fallout spread across large swathes of Europe, and beyond, and this dramatically refocused the world’s attention on the safety of its food supply. This Fourth Wave of the organics movement witnesses the maturing of organics in Australia and the development of the apparatus of organics governance. The first organics certifiers were established along with the establishment of standards, logos, labelling and product differentiation. The area of certified organic agriculture in Australia now far exceeds that of any other country.
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago


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