Sunday, 31 July 2016

'Organic Revolutionary' book review


Organic Revolutionary: A Memoir of the Movement for Real Food, Planetary Healing, and Human Liberation
A book review submitted to The Digest by Graham Bell; thanks Graham! All readers are most welcome to submit Digest content to research@permaculture.org.uk

I recommend this book to anyone interested in setting standards.  Grace delineates her progress from hippy farmer to state legislator in great detail.  In the process she describes the challenge of setting standards for organic production in the US.  Because the book took fifteen years to write there are great changes in mood.  For those similarly challenged with 'What is a good standard' (a debate raging in various permaculture circles right now) it clearly states the different positions people will take: purist and enabler would be the extremes.  It points out very perceptively the advantages and disadvantages of these polar opposites.

Personally I would like to have heard more about Grace the person.  Whilst in some respects she is very open about her life, loves and relationships, I feel a little more of these aspects of her story would have helped me appreciate her journey.

 Meanwhile a very worthwhile read.  I particularly like the section: Soil is anything but pure.  Quote: 'the reductionist model of nutrition gives no indication of the vital, living quality of a food product.', 'Those that respect the law and love sausage should watch neither being made' Mark Twain (AKA Sam Clements) and lastly: 'Yet in fact the push for higher standards actually made it easier for the large, professional business organisations than for smaller owner-operators.  They were simply better equipped to deal with the increasingly finicky and paperwork heavy demands of organic certification.' A salutary lesson for us all.

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