Permaculture & Sustainable Agriculture

  This paper is two years old but it provides a framework
for comparing permaculture (as a large umbrella) to 
sustainable agriculture (as a parallel large umbrella) to
the more specific alternative farming systems in use. 
  The audience included conventional farmers, and thus the 
focus on "low-input" as a bridge to sustainable ag and 
the more refined alternative farming systems.  


Diver, Steve.  1994.  Introduction to low-input sustainable
agriculture.  p. 152-158.  Proceedings of the 13th Annual
Oklahoma Horticulture Industries Show.  Held January 7-8, 1994,
Tulsa Jr. College-Northeast Campus, Tulsa, OK.  


     Sustainable agriculture is a regular feature in farm
journals and growers meetings these days.  Thus, an introduction
to production systems that strive towards sustainability seems

     While sustainable agriculture is based on long-term goals
and not a specific set of farming practices, it is usually
accompanied by a reduction of purchased inputs in favor of
managing on-farm resources.  A good example is reliance on
biologically-fixed nitrogen from legumes as versus manufactured
nitrogen fertilizers.  Low-input agriculture is one of several
alternative farming systems whose methods are adaptable to
sustainable agriculture.        

     Low-input farming is based on a reduction--but not
necessarily elimination--of chemical fertilizers, insecticides,
and herbicides.  Farmers are adopting these practices primarily
to reduce costs, but also because they want to minimize impact on
the environment or because they perceive future pesticide

     In a search for information on how to farm with fewer
chemicals, it is helpful to examine alternative farming systems
in existence that largely exclude chemicals in favor of
biological farming practices.  Experiences of producers who've
successfully practiced these methods are valuable to farmers
considering a transition to low-input sustainable agriculture. 

Alternative Farming Systems

     There are four established approaches to alternative farming
in the U.S.  A common thread in all four schools is an emphasis
on biological systems to supply fertility and pest control rather
than chemical inputs.  

     Organic farming is the most widely recognized alternative
farming system.  Modern organic farming evolved as an alternative
to chemical agriculture in the 1940s, largely in response to the
publications of J.I. Rodale in the U.S., Lady Eve Balfour in
England, and Sir Albert Howard in India.  

     In 1980, U.S.D.A. released a landmark report titled Report
and Recommendations on Organic Farming (1) in which organic
farming was defined as such: 

     Organic farming is a production system which avoids or
     largely excludes the use of synthetically compounded
     fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and
     livestock feed additives.  To the maximum extent
     feasible, organic farming systems rely upon crop
     rotations, crop residues, animal manures, legumes,
     green manures, off-farm organic wastes, mechanical
     cultivation, mineral-bearing rocks, and aspects of 
     biological pest control to maintain soil productivity
     and tilth, to supply plant nutrients, and to control
     insects, weeds, and other pests. 

     In the 70s and 80s, organic certification of farms emerged
as a marketing tool to insure foods produced organically met
specified standards of production.  The Organic Foods Production
Act, included in the 1990 Farm Bill, enabled USDA to develop a
national program of universal standards, certification
accreditation, and food labeling.  Implementation, initially
scheduled for October of 1993, was delayed due to lack of funding
and complexity of issues and is anticipated to take effect in
     Biodynamic farming evolved in Europe in the 1920s following
lectures on agriculture by the Austrian anthroposophist Rudolf
Steiner.  Biodynamic farming parallels organic farming in many
ways but places greater emphasis on the integration of animals to
create a closed nutrient cycle, effect of crop planting dates in
relation to the calendar, and awareness of spiritual forces in
nature.  A unique feature of this system is the use of eight
specific preparations derived from cow manure, silica, and herbal
extracts to treat compost piles, soils, and crops.  

     Demeter (tm) is a certification program for food and feed
produced by strictly biodynamic farming methods.  The Community
Supported Agriculture (CSA) marketing programs, gathering
popularity as an innovative method of subscription farming, were
largely introduced into the U.S. by the biodynamic movement.  An
article on soil quality and financial performance of biodynamic
and conventional farms in New Zealand in the April 16, 1993 issue
of Science.  In a comparison of 16 adjacent farms, the biodynamic
farms exhibited superior soil physical, biological, and chemical
properties and were just as financially viable as their
counterparts (2). 

     "Biological" farming has become synonymous with farmers
using the Reams fertility system as the basis for crop
production.  Eco-agriculture is the term used to describe this
system by the monthly Acres, U.S.A.  The Reams system is based on
the LaMotte-Morgan soil test and the use of rock phosphate,
calcium carbonate, and compost to achieve nutrient ratios of 7:1
calcium to phosphorus, 2:1 phosphorus to potassium, and so on. 
"Biological" farming allows the use of selected chemical
fertilizers (avoiding disruptive materials such as anhydrous
ammonia and potassium chloride) and adopts low-input approaches
to use of herbicides and insecticides.  

     Diagnostic instruments to monitor plant and soil conditions
are frequently used in "Biological" farming; these include
refractometers to monitor sugar content (Brix) in plant tissue
sap; electrical conductivity meters to monitor ERGS (or energy
released per gram of soil); ORPS meters (or oxygen reduction
potential of soil); and radionics.  Based on data gathered,
foliar sprays containing biostimulants and soluble nutrients are
applied.  The Pandol Brothers, a large commercial fruit and
vegetable operation in California, reduced their annual pesticide
bill from $500,000 to $50,000 per year after adopting a
"Biological" fertility program. 

     Nature Farming was developed in Japan in the 1930s by
Mokichi Okada, who later formed the Mokichi Okada Association
(MOA).  Nature Farming parallels organic farming in many ways but
includes special emphasis on soil health through composts rather
than organic fertilizers, when possible.  Kyusei Nature Farming,
a branch group, emphasizes use of microbial preparations in
addition to traditional Nature Farming.  Nature Farming is most
active in the Pacific rim, including California and Hawaii.  

     Since the late 1980s, Nature Farming has gained wider
recognition in the United States through the coordinated efforts
of MOA and the Rodale Institute in the formation of the World
Sustainable Agriculture Association (WSAA).  The WSAA and MOA
sponsor annual conferences on Nature Farming and sustainable
agriculture.  Kyusei Nature Farming conducts on-farm research in

     In addition to these methods-based approaches to sustainable
farming, regenerative agriculture and permaculture are widely
recognized in the U.S. and abroad.  However, these latter
systems, like sustainable agriculture, are more conceptually
oriented than methods-based.  

     Regenerative agriculture became the preferred term of the
Rodale Institute in the late 1970s and 80s under the direction of
Robert Rodale.  Regenerative agriculture builds on nature's own
inherent capacity to cope with pests, enhance soil fertility, and
increase productivity.  It implies a continuing ability to re-
create the resources that the system requires.  In practice,
regenerative agriculture uses low-input and organic farming
systems as a framework to achieve these goals.  

     Permaculture is a contraction of "permanent agriculture" and
was coined by Bill Mollison, an Australian forest ecologist, in
1978.  Permaculture is concerned with designing ecological human
habitats and food production systems, and follows specific
guidelines and principles in the design of these systems.  To the
extent that permaculture is not a production system, per se, but
rather a land use planning philosophy, it is not limited to a
specific method of production.  Thus, practically any site-
specific ecological farming system is amenable to permaculture.   

     A common thread among all six schools is an opposing world
view to the industrial model of agriculture.  These competing
paradigms were summarized in "Conventional Versus Alternative
Agriculture: The Paradigmatic Roots of the Debate" (3) as: 

     *  centralization vs. decentralization
     *  dependence vs. independence
     *  competition vs. community
     *  dominance of nature vs. harmony with nature
     *  specialization vs. diversity
     *  exploitation vs. restraint 
     These objectives obviously have more to do with societal and
economic responses to modern industrial agriculture than they do
with farming practice A or farming practice B.  Nevertheless,
they underscore the sometimes contentious debate between
sustainable farming advocates and supporters of high-input
conventional agriculture.  

Evolution of Sustainable Agriculture

     In the 1960s and 70s, a growing environmental agriculture
movement evolved in response to increasing soil erosion,
pesticide use, and groundwater contamination.  Simultaneously,
economic conditions for farmers were becoming more stressful and
the number of family farms declined. 

     In 1980 Wes Jackson of The Land Institute in Salina, KS,
began using the term "sustainable agriculture" to describe an
alternative system of agriculture based upon resource
conservation and quality of rural life.  Through the lobbying
efforts of several nonprofit farming organizations, Congress
passed legislation in the 1985 Farm Bill that mandated
implementation of a low-input sustainable agriculture program by
the Department of Agriculture.  

     In 1988 U.S.D.A. initiated the Low-Input Sustainable
Agriculture research and education program, or LISA.  In 1991 the
name of this program was changed to the Sustainable Agriculture
Research and Education Program, or SARE.  Funds made available
through the LISA/SARE programs have resulted in significant
additions to landgrant research and extension programs in the
last five years. 

     While sustainable agriculture has become the umbrella under
which many of the above-mentioned alternative farming systems
fall, it is important to note that sustainable agriculture is
really a long-term goal, not a specific set of farming practices. 
In Sustainable Agriculture in Temperate Zones (4) sustainable
agriculture was defined as such: 

     Sustainable Agriculture is a philosophy based on human
     goals and on understanding the long-term impact of our
     activities on the environment and on other species. Use
     of this philosophy guides our application of prior
     experience and the latest scientific advances to create
     integrated, resource-conserving, equitable farming
     systems.  These systems reduce environmental
     degradation, maintain agricultural productivity,
     promote economic viability in both the short and long
     term and maintain stable rural communities and quality
     of life.

Three indicators that appear most frequently in a definition of
sustainable agriculture are:

     *  Environmentally sound
     *  Economically viable
     *  Socially acceptable

     In this context, sustainable agriculture embraces all
agricultural systems striving to meet these criteria.  Many
aspects of modern conventional agriculture are included in
sustainable agriculture, just as are many aspects of alternative
farming systems. 

     One aspect of modern agriculture receiving a lot of
attention in the sustainable agriculture discussion is the use of
chemical inputs to supply fertility and pest control.  While
agriculture chemicals will continue to play an important role in
American agriculture, many farmers are looking at alternatives
due to environmental, economical, or regulatory reasons.  In a
transition to farming systems more reliant on biological methods
of production, low-input farming serves as an intermediary step. 

Low-Input Agriculture

     The term low-input agriculture has been defined as a
production activity that uses synthetic fertilizers or pesticides
below rates commonly recommended by the Extension Service.  It
does not mean elimination of these materials.  Yields are
maintained through greater emphasis on cultural practices, IPM,
and utilization of on-farm resources and management. 

     Although the term "low-input farming" has often been used to
describe any system of alternative agriculture, it can be seen
that it is distinctly different from organic farming, etc.
Nevertheless, any system that reduces purchased chemical inputs
can be called low-input farming. 

     As research funded through U.S.D.A.'s LISA/SARE program has
emerged, it is apparent that many Extension programs are now
offering low-input practices as a regular option for growers. 
Examples of low-input agriculture Extension Service programs in
the United States:

     *  University of Arkansas reduced herbicide program for
     *  University of Massachusetts low-spray apple orchard
     *  Pennsylvania State University living mulches for
        vegetables program 

     In Oklahoma, speakers have reported at Horticulture
Industries Show meetings that:  (1) poultry litter can replace
nitrogen fertilizers in the production of watermelons; (2) legume
cover crops can supply the total nitrogen requirements of pecan
trees; and, (3) two timely applications of a synthetic
insecticide can produce a full crop of worm-free apples. 

     In Arkansas, speakers have reported at the Arkansas Society
for Horticultural Science meetings that:  (1) compost amended
potting mixes produce superior vegetable transplants than
traditional soilless mixes; (2) no-till vegetable systems are
feasible using reduced herbicide rates to kill cover crops; and,
(3) subterranean clover living mulches supply nitrogen and weed
control in peach orchards. 
     Integrated pest management is probably the oldest and most
widely recognized Extension Service program devoted to low-input
agriculture.  However, only recently have the "non-chemical"
approaches--such as cultural, mechanical, and biological--within
the IPM framework been emphasized over the chemical component. 
Some programs, in fact, are now termed "biologically-intensive

     In Oklahoma, low-input sustainable agriculture is being
practiced on many farms and ranches.  Extension efforts are
needed to photograph and document these practices for wider
distribution.  Research efforts are needed to validate practices
through on-farm research for wider application. 

     Finally, in the adoption of sustainable farming practices
that depend on a higher degree of management of biological
resources, it is helpful to remember one or two ideas about
priorities in farming:   

     "Any system that allows people to get started, however
imperfect it might be, is the right system for that situation." 

    That is to say that during these rough times in U.S. agriculture,
it is far more important to help young people get into farming,
and keep established farmers financially secure, than it is to
worry about eliminating tools--including fertilizers and
pesticides--that support farming.  In other words, "get the
engine running first, then adjust the carburetor."    


1)   USDA.  1980.  Report and Recommendations on Organic
     Farming.  U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 
     94 p.

2)   Reaganold, J.P., et al.  1993.  Soil quality and
     financial performance of biodynamic and conventional
     farms in New Zealand.  Science.  April 16.  p. 344-349. 

3)   Beus, C.E., and R.E. Dunlap.  1990.  Conventional
     versus alternative agriculture:  the paradigmatic roots
     of the debate.  Rural Sociology.  55(4): 590-616.

4)   Francis, C.A., C.B. Flora, and L.D. King.  1990. 
     Sustainable Agriculture in Temperate Zones.  John Wiley
     & Sons, New York.  487 p.  

Alternative Farming Organizations:

Organic Farming

     Rodale Institute Research Center
     611 Siegfriedale Rd.
     Kutztown, PA  19530
     (610) 683-6383

     Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA)-International
     3185 Township Rd. 179
     Bellefontane, OH  43311
     (513) 592-4983

Biodynamic Farming

     Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Assn. 
     P.O. Box 550
     Kimberton, PA  19442
     (215) 935-7797

     Josephine Porter Institute of Applied Biodynamics 
     P.O. Box 133
     Woolwine, VA  24185
     (703) 930-2463

     Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
     West 2493 County Rd. ES
     East Troy, WI  53120
     (414) 642-3303

Biological Farming

     Acres, U.S.A. Book Store
     2617-C Edenborn Ave
     Metairie, LA  70002
     (504) 889-2100

Nature Farming

     Mokichi Okada Association
     c/o Pacific Cultural Center
     1835 Vancouver Drive
     Honolulu, HI  96822
     (808) 595-6344
     (808) 595-8014 Fax
     Nature Farming Research & Development Center
     6495 Santa Rosa Rd.
     Lompac, CA  93436
     (805) 737-1536
     (805) 736-9599 Fax

Alternative Farming Systems Information Sources:       

1)   Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA)
     P.O. Box 3657
     Fayetteville, AR  72702
          Information Packages 
          Resource Lists
          Custom research on sustainble farming practices and
            alternative crop and livestock enterprises. 

2)   Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
     National Agricultural Library
     10301 Baltimore Boulevard
     Beltsville, MD  20705-2351
     (301) 504-6559
          Quick Bibliographies
          Special Reference Briefs
          Bibliographic database searches

AUTHOR(s):       Kennedy, Decland  
TITLE(s):        Permaculture and the sustainable city.  
Summary:         "A design method abandoning the linear sectoral
                   oreganization of human support systems and creating
                   linkages between the various elements - each enhancing the
                   function of the others - similar to the way in which highly
                   ddeveloped organisms work": the role of urban
                   municipalities in optimizing the overall yield and creating
                   beauty, flexibility and responsiveness.                    
           In:   Ekistics.  oikistike.  
                 MAY 01 1991 v 58 n 348 / 349  
         Page:   210  

AUTHOR(s):       Pleasant, Barbara  
TITLE(s):        Translating permaculture-: Australia's Bill Mollison tells
                   how to achieve a landscape of food, beauty and restored
                   natural habitat.                                           
           In:   Organic gardening.  
                 APR 01 1990 v 37 n 4  
         Page:   42  

AUTHOR(s):       Ketchum, Richard M.  
TITLE(s):        In the Hands of Willem Kips.  
Summary:         One of the world's most successful growers believes the
                   future of agriculture lies in no-chemical, biodynamic
                   farming. Richard M. Ketchum reports from Holland on a farm
                   reclaimed from the Zuyder Zee.                             
           In:   Country journal.  
                 MAY 01 1992 v 19 n 3  
         Page:   53  

AUTHOR(s):       Todd, John  
TITLE(s):        Adventures of an Applied Ecologist.  
           In:   Whole earth review.  
                 Sprg 89 v n 62  

AUTHOR(s):       Quinney, John  
TITLE(s):        Out of the Ark and Into the World: New Alchemy turns pro.  
           In:   Whole earth review.  
                 Sprg 89 v n 62  
         Page:   33  

TITLE(s):        Organic gardening  (1988)  
                 Organic gardening.  
                 Emmaus, Pa. :  Rodale Press,  
                 [Emmaus, PA :  Rodale Press,  c1988-  

                 Living earth (Bristol, England)  
TITLE(s):        The Living earth :  journal of the Soil Association.  
Also called:     Living earth and Soil Association news  Oct./Dec. 1988-  
Also called:     Living earth with Soil Association news  Jan./Mar. 1989  
                 [Bristol, England] :  The Association,  1988-  

TITLE(s):        The New farm  
                 The New farm.  
                 Emmaus, Pa.,  Regenerative Agriculture Association.  

TITLE(s):        Is Your Tomato Really a Tomato? Your Guide to Good Health
                   in the 21st Century.                                       
Summary:         It may look and taste like a tomato, but its genetic
                   imprint could contain fish genes. Do consumers have a right
                   to know if the food they eat has been genetically
                   engineered? Plus, an update on the USDA food pyramid and a
                   new approach to organic farming.                           
           In:   Delicious]  
                 OCT 01 1992 v 8 n 7  
         Page:   16  

AUTHOR(s):       Ackert, Denise  
TITLE(s):        Guaranteed Sales From Subscription Farming.  
Summary:         Community supported agriculture yields rewards for both
                   organic farmers and consumers.                             
           In:   In business.  
                 JUL 01 1992 v 14 n 4  
         Page:   52  

AUTHOR(s):       do Pico, Guillermo A.  
TITLE(s):        Hazardous Exposure and Lung Disease Among Farm Workers.  
Summary:         Industrialization of farming, animal raising, and forestry
                   has added new chemical and mechanical hazards that need to
                   be recognized and prevented. Lung disease among farm
                   workers can result from a wide variety of hazardous
                   exposures that include organic dusts, chemicals, and toxic
                   gases. In addition to nonspecific symptoms of mucous
                   membrane irritation, farm workers can develop occupational
                   asthma or bronchitis, organic toxic dust syndrome,
                   hypersensitivity pneumonitis, silo                         
                 filler's disease (toxic hemorrhagic pulmonary edema), and
                   neuromuscular respiratory failure.                         
           In:   Clinics in chest medicine.  
                 JUN 01 1992 v 13 n 2  
         Page:   311  

TITLE(s):        Texas Sees Big Increase in Organic Farming: Growers focus
                   on crops once considered too difficult to grow without
                   toxic chemicals.                                           
           In:   In business.  
                 MAY 01 1992 v 14 n 3  
         Page:   38  

TITLE(s):        The Fresher the Better: Food update: subscription farming
                   and organic beef.                                          
           In:   Metropolitan home.  
                 APR 01 1992 v 24 n 4  
         Page:   83  

AUTHOR(s):       Hill, S.B.  
                 MacRae, R.J.  
TITLE(s):        Organic farming in Canada.  
           In:   Agriculture, ecosystems & environment.  
                 MAR 31 1992 v 39 n 1 / 2  
         Page:   71  

AUTHOR(s):       Cudjoe, Frank  
                 Rees, Philip  
TITLE(s):        How important is organic farming in Great Britain?  
           In:   TESG, tijdschrift voor economische en sociale ge  
                 1992 v 83 n 1  
         Page:   13  

AUTHOR(s):       Marshall, G.  
TITLE(s):        Organic Farming: Should Government Give it More Technical
           In:   Review of marketing and agricultural economics.  
                 DEC 01 1991 v 59 n 3  
         Page:   283  

AUTHOR(s):       Mitchell, Sandy  
TITLE(s):        Organic Farming in Worcestershire.  
           In:   Country life.  
                 NOV 14 1991 v 185 n 46  
         Page:   64  

AUTHOR(s):       Mitchell, Sandy  
TITLE(s):        Organic Farming in Worcestershire.  
           In:   Country life.  
                 NOV 14 1991 v 185 n 46  
         Page:   64  

TITLE(s):        Weed Control By the Book. Using maps showing variation in
                   soil organic matter and pH levels to adjust herbicide
                   rates, growers are improving weed control-and saving money.
           In:   Successful farming.  
                 AUG 01 1991 v 89 n 8  
         Page:   52  

AUTHOR(s):       Springett, J.  
TITLE(s):        Organic Farming - Learning Not to Panic.  
           In:   Search.  
                 APR 01 1991 v 22 n 3  
         Page:   83  

TITLE(s):        Red-Light District. Special sensors on fertilizer trucks
                   `read' organic matter levels.                              
           In:   Successful farming.  
                 DEC 01 1990 v 88 n 12  
         Page:   36  

AUTHOR(s):       Malpas, Tony  
TITLE(s):        Organic Farming.  
Summary:         Tony Malpas on how to plant an organic wood.  
           In:   The Living earth :  journal of the Soil Associat  
                 OCT 01 1990 n 172  
         Page:   18  

AUTHOR(s):       Readman, Jo  
TITLE(s):        Growing in School.  
Summary:         A special feature looking at education and the
                   opportunities for teaching about organic farming, including
                   an interview with Damian Randle, articles by Jo Readman and
                   a critique of material on organic farming produced by the
                   agrochemical industry and details of the Soil Association's
                   new project.                                               
           In:   The Living earth :  journal of the Soil Associat  
                 OCT 01 1990 n 172  
         Page:   10  

AUTHOR(s):       Broom, Sue  
TITLE(s):        Commercial Organic Farming.  
           In:   Country life.  
                 JUN 28 1990 v 184 n 26  
         Page:   126  

AUTHOR(s):       Nash, Tom  
TITLE(s):        Organic Growth.  
Summary:         With today's awareness of organic food, the farming and
                   retailing of it should be healthily profitable. Is it do
                   buoyant that you can start up a chain of slopes selling the
                   organic experience? Paul Jackson thinks so.                
           In:   Director.  
                 JUN 01 1990 v 43 n 12  
         Page:   98  

AUTHOR(s):       Dudley, Nigel  
TITLE(s):        A role for organic farming.  
Summary:         Nigel Dudley calls for a greater role for organic food
           In:   Town & country planning :  [the journal of the T  
                 MAY 01 1990 v 59 n 5  
         Page:   158  

AUTHOR(s):       Coates, Hugh  
TITLE(s):        Subscription Farming: A co-operative approach to organic
           In:   The Living earth :  journal of the Soil Associat  
                 APR 01 1990 n 170  
         Page:   21  

AUTHOR(s):       Coates, Hugh  
TITLE(s):        Subscription Farming: A co-operative approach to organic
           In:   The Living earth :  journal of the Soil Associat  
                 APR 01 1990 n 170  
         Page:   21  

AUTHOR(s):       Haines, P.J.  
                 Uren, N.C.  
TITLE(s):        Effects of conservation tillage farming on soil microbial
                   biomass, organic matter and earthworm populations, in
                   northeastern Victoria.                                     
           In:   Australian journal of experimental agriculture.  
                 1990 v 30 n 3  
         Page:   365  

AUTHOR(s):       Hartl, W.  
TITLE(s):        Influence of undersown clovers on weeds and on the yield of
                   winter wheat in organic farming.                           
           In:   Agriculture, ecosystems & environment.  
                 NOV 01 1989 v 27 n 1 / 4  
        Page:   389  

AUTHOR(s):       McNulty, Karen  
TITLE(s):        When Are Two Farms Better Than One?  
Summary:         When you want to compare the effects of chemical and
                   organic farming on the soil, that's when. Would Americans
                   go hungary if farmers gave up chemical fertilizers and
                   pesticides? Should the government ban their use? Debate and
           In:   Science world.  Teachers' edition.  
                 OCT 20 1989 v 46 n 4  
         Page:   13  

TITLE(s):        Organic farming. Jeffrey Fox reports on the US National
                   Research Council's recommendations for alternative
                   agriculture practices.                                     
           In:   Chemistry and industry.  
                 OCT 02 1989 n 19  
         Page:   619  

TITLE(s):        20% by 2000: Nic Lampkin looks at the evvects of organic
                   farming on food output.                                    
           In:   The Living earth :  journal of the Soil Associat  
                 OCT 01 1989 n 168  
         Page:   16  

TITLE(s):        Spray Free Food.  
Summary:         Buy organic and avoid pesticide residues. A special feature
                   by Pamela Stephenson and Nigel Dudley, plus a plan to
                   increase organic farming to 20% of land by 2000 by Elm Farm
                   Research Centre, and a special feature by David Hodges.    
           In:   The Living earth :  journal of the Soil Associat  
                 JUL 01 1989 n 167  
         Page:   12  

TITLE(s):        Going bananas over organic farming.  
           In:   Newsweek.  
                 MAR 27 1989 v 113 n 13  
         Page:   24  

TITLE(s):        Conservation: Organic farming and the environment.  
           In:   The Living earth :  journal of the Soil Associat  
                 JAN 01 1989 n 165  
         Page:   21  

AUTHOR(s):       Reganold, John P.  
TITLE(s):        Comparison of soil properties as influenced by organic and
                   conventional farming systems.                              
           In:   American journal of alternative agriculture.  
                 Fall 198 v 3 n 4  
         Page:   144  

AUTHOR(s):       Anderson, Christine  
TITLE(s):        Moving to the Mainstream.  
Summary:         Starting small in organic farming triggered success for
                   Valley Fresh Distributing, Inc., near Center.              
           In:   Colorado rancher and farmer.  
                 NOV 01 1988 v 42 n 11  
         Page:   12  
Article 661 (2 more) in bionet.plants:
Newsgroups: bionet.plants,rec.gardens
From: dr@ducvax.auburn.edu
ubject: Kudzu (was: Re: gardening ethics)
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1992 02:54:45 GMT

> I believe that the main motivation of introducing kudzu was as a
> conservation crop to prevent the soil erosion of your item 1.  The
> conservation folks were right about it being a good cover crop!   

That is more-or-less the impression I've always had; however I've 
recently read a couple of period articles which make me think that 
greater emphasis than is generally thought was placed on kudzu's value 
as a forage crop.  A masters thesis at Auburn, "A study of the effect 
of various treatments on the rooting and survival of kudzu seedlings 
and vine cuttings" (ca. 1941) had this introductory paragraph:
         "Kudzu (Pueralia thumbergiana) is a plant which most agronomy 
       workers agree is well adapted as a perennial hay crop for the 
       Southern States.  Kudzu does well on land that is too steep 
       or too low in fertility to support other hay crops.  This is 
       especially true in the Piedmont region of the southeastern 
       states where steep slopes accompanied by a humid climate have
       resulted in untold losses through erosion on farm lands in 
       this area."
More illustrative is a circular published (1939, and earlier) by the
Agricultural Experiment Station of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute
titled "Kudzu Its Value and Use in Alabama":
         "Kudzu, a perennial legume that produces large yields of hay,
       is adapted to temporary grazing by livestock, is an excellent 
       soiling crop and is sufficiently drout-resistant to produce 
       good yields when other crops fail.  Its feeding value compares 
       favorably with other legumes.  It is valuable for soil building, 
       stoping erosion, and planting on road banks, fills, and along 

The remainder of the 20 pages are spent extolling (citing experimental
data) the many virtues of kudzu.  The Hay Crop section gets 4 pages;
Grazing Crop, 6 pages; Soil Improvement, 2 pages; Propagation, 3 pages;
Erosion, 1 page; Care(!), 2 pages; summary, 1 page.  Just before the 
Summary, there is a cautionary section:

       "Kudzu as a Pest"
         "Some farmers have opinions that kudzu may become a pest,
       may not be eradicated, and may spread where it is not wanted.  
       Such ideas are unfounded.  It may be easily eradicated by 
       grazing or by plowing.  Kudzu has been confined to the edges 
       of fields at Auburn for a period of 35 years and has never 
       become a pest or spread to areas where it was not wanted.  
       It may be confined indefinitely to terrace ridges in 
       a field simply by cultivating the field in row crops."

Read today, much of the circular seems a delicious satire - there are 
cautions on how to avoid the loss of kudzu seedlings, warnings to not 
allow livestock to overgraze, etc.  The data shown in the report really 
*is* impressive; I imagine that in its time kudzu seemed as much The Answer 
as, in their times, <insert favorite innovation gone awry>. Rec.gardens 
added to distribution, better historians may wish to add corrections.

David Roller  |    Bitnet = dr@auducvax            |  "Because we're all
Auburn Univ.  |  Internet = dr@ducvax.auburn.edu   |   in this together."