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Agriculture Library Index


 Lawrence F. London, Jr. - Dragonfly Market Gardens
 mailto:london@sunSITE.unc.edu - mailto:llondon@bellsouth.net
Title: Agriculture Library Index

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Health begins in the soil.

Welcome To The
Holistic Agriculture Library

Catalogs Of The Holistic Agriculture Library

What This Library Is All About

    Radical agriculture is a study of, and program for, handling the close connection between the health of the soil and the health of those organisms that feed from that soil. Those "organisms" include human beings.
    Modern, industrial agriculture primarily focuses on the size and volume of the crop harvested (bulk yield), and the commercial aspects of that production (profit). It tends to pay small attention to the nutritional content of the food we grow. Aside from obsessive cancerfearmongering connected with pesticide residues in our food, popular consciousness pays far to little attention to the mass degeneration resulting from eating the industrial food we grow. This degeneration includes a lot of human misery and sickness, a greatly shortened lifespan and an enormously lowered level of civilization, because, simply, we don't live long enough to get enough smart.
    As industrial agriculture began to prevail, certain far-sighted individuals asked worrysome questions about the wisdom of managing farms for bulk yield and profit. Their concerns coalesced into various movements and "schools" including (but not limited to) the "Organic" school and the "Biodynamic" school. And there were some mavericks whose understanding was so unique, so independent and so non-dogmatic that it did not appeal to true-believing mindsets like J.I. Rodale. These remarkable individuals have been largely ignored by the mainstream that controls "alternative" thought today.
    The purpose of the Holistic Agriculture Library is to bring all these thinkers together into one place and to preserve this wisdom.
    These wisdoms still have not been applied.

Catalogs Of The Holistic Agriculture Library

Hopkins, Cyril. The Story of the Soil.
Boston, Richard G. Badger, 1910.

WARNING. This book expresses views on race that in its day were considered quite acceptable but in our day are viewed as quite incorrect, perhaps even shocking. Those who cannot view such expressions as "historical documents," should not read The Story of the Soil. However, the book has massively-redeeming values. This is one of the best "made-simple" soil manuals ever written, all wrapped up as a romance about a bright young man with a solid ag-school education, going out to buy a farm and falling in love.

Hopkins, Donald P. Chemicals, Humus and the Soil.
Brooklyn, NY: Chemical Publishing Company, 1948.

Hopkins makes the point that chemical fertilizers are effective and positive to the degree that humus remains in the soil; that the real problem with chemicals has been with some who suggest that chemicals can replace farmyard manure.
    Hopkins takes on the Howardites point by point and demolishes many of their positions. The book's arguments are cogent and largely correct, though Hopkins "scientific" biases distort his objectivity in areas relating to human health.This book should by carefully read by anyone that considers themselves "organic."

Howard, Sir Albert. An Agricultural Testament
. Oxford University Press, 1943.

This is the book that set off the organic farming and gardening revolution. Unfortunately, it has been out of print for some time. Reproduced here with all the photographic plates and drawings. Contains Howard's professional life story in semi-autobiographical form.

Howard, Albert, and Wad, Yeshwant D. The Waste Products of Agriculture: Their Utilization as Humus.
Oxford University Press, 1931.

Uncritical readers of Howard's later polemical works may receive the impression that he was the sole creator of the Indore process and thast Howard, virtually alone, discovered composting. Actually, there were a number of investigators actively publishing in the area at the time. Selman Waksman the great soil microbiologist was perhaps the most significant. This book outlines Howard's research at Indore, and provides a most detailed explanation of the various considerations relating to composting vs. sheet composting and green manuring and explains how and why the compost pile is the most thrifty way to preserve and increase biologically accumulated nitrogen. This is Howard at his best.

Widtsoe, John A. Dry Farming.
New York: MacMillan, 1911.

Between the paragraphs of this book one can see how farmer's lack of ethics and greed led them to ignore Widtsoe's warnings, making the Great Plains dustbowls inevitable. I also found the dry-gardening insights here to complete my own book Gardening Without Irrigation. There are lots of clues for someone seeking to reduce their dependence on the water pump and grow their own food strictly on natural rainfall. This rendition is somewhat abbridged: the original had many unnecessary (decorative) illustrations and a few too many tables containing evidence to support Widtsoe's contentions that today seem unnecessary.

Other Reading

An Annotated Bibliography of Readings
In the Intellectual History of Radical Agriculture

    This bibliography, coupled with those titles made available above, constitutes a curricula for an advanced degree in the "intellectual history of radical agriculture." Anyone who studied all these titles and followed their bibliographies back as far as seemed interesting could honestly award themselves a Ph.D. in the subject.
    The reader is welcome to make other suggestions or comments for addition. Where any of these titles are available in print, the bibliography will usually tell you or directly link you to a source for purchase.
    It is the policy of the Soil and Health Library to not reproduce any book that is in print. Doing this would also violate U.S. copyright law.

An Agricultural Dictionary

    A light-hearted compilation of definitions derived from interesting sourcebooks connected with the intellectual history of radical agriculture. The dictionary is still incomplete and could use quite a few contributions from others. Please feel free to submit your own quotes and new terms. Public domain.

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