Synopses & Reviews
During his years as a scientist working for the British government in India, Sir Albert Howard conceived of and refined the principles of organic agriculture. Howard’s The Soil and Health became a seminal and inspirational text in the organic movement soon after its publication in 1945. The Soil and Health argues that industrial agriculture, emergent in Howard’s era and dominant today, disrupts the delicate balance of nature and irrevocably robs the soil of its fertility. Howard’s classic treatise links the burgeoning health crises facing crops, livestock, and humanity to this radical degradation of the Earth’s soil. His message—that we must respect and restore the health of the soil for the benefit of future generations—still resonates among those who are concerned about the effects of chemically enhanced agriculture.
The Soil and Health was published in 1945, just before agricultural corporations surged to global proportions. Sir Albert Howard's work is a major inspiration to the growing organic and sustainable farming movement and a thought-provoking reminder of a road not taken in developing mainstream agriculture during the past half-century. The central tenet of Howard's philosophy is that healthy soil, vegetation, animals, and humans are connected and that undernourishment of soil is the source of modern agricultural and health problems. In Howard's estimation, heavy reliance on chemical fertilizers will ultimately lead to widespread disease and destruction of vibrant communities. The environmental and social consequences of industrial farming are being hotly debated, and The Soil and Health remains vital to understanding what is at stake in the battle between chemical and organic farming.