Synopses & Reviews
Will Allen is an organic farming visionary. A true activist, entrepreneur, and expert, he understands the complexities of farming first hand and the impact that commercialization has had.
In the early nineteenth century as the American population grew rapidly, demands on crop output increased. Seeing an opportunity to play upon fears from market demand, chemical companies declared war on the vile, profit-sucking, output-wreaking, arch-nemesis of the average American farmer - bugs. With precision, pesticide manufacturers delivered a "shock and awe" media campaign, that can only be paralleled to the current blitzkrieg from today's pharmaceutical companies. Bugs were the threat to the American dream - and there was a cure available to every farmer available in spray, granule, dust, or systemic form that could be applied to your crops.
Will Allen's War on Bugs reveals how advertisers, editors, scientists, large scale farmers, government agencies, and even Dr. Seuss, colluded to convince farmers to use deadly chemicals, hormones, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in an effort to pad their wallets and control the American farm enterprise.
Utilizing dozens of original advertisements and promotions to illustrate the story, Allen details how consumers and activists have struggled against toxic food. Echoing the warnings of seminal works on the topic like, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, 100,000 Guinea Pigs by Arthur Kallet and F.J. Schlink, and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, The War on Bugs shouts that the time to stop poisoning our food, water, air, and ourselves is now!
About the Author
Will Allen grew up on a small farm in southern California and served in the Marine Corps between the Korean and Vietnam wars. He received a PhD in Anthropology (focused on Peruvian tropical forest agriculture) and taught at U-Ill and UC-Santa Barbara before being fired and jailed for a year for civil rights and antiwar activism. He returned to farming and farm labor full-time in 1972 and has been farming organically ever since, in Oregon, California, and Vermont, where he now co-manages Cedar Circle Farm. He founded the Sustainable Cotton Project and is a board member of the Organic Consumers Association, Rural Vermont, and is a co-chair of Farms Not Arms.
Table of Contents
1. The Roots of Farming in the Americas
2. America's First Farm Revitalization Movement
3. The Birth of the Rural Journals
4. Guano and the Birth of the Rural-Industrial Mouthpiece
5. Liebig and the Industrialists
6. The Fertilizer Merchants
7. The Medical Ancestry of Pesticides
8. Ratcatchers, Quacks, and Early Pest Control in America
9. The Populist Farmers' Movement
10. Paint Pigments and Other Lethal Poisons
11. Arsenic Regulation, the FDA, and Other Regulatory Hoaxes
12. The First Advertised War on the Farms
13. Populist Farmers, the Red Scare, and the Origin of Modern Organics
14. Pesticide Spray Devices, Household Poisons, and Dr. Seuss
15. Medical Heroes, War Heroes, and More Regulation Struggles
16. The Pesticides from the 1930s
17. Bombs and Fertilizers
18. War Toys
19. Animal Testing and the Pharmaceutical Farm
20. DDT and Other Second-Generation Pesticides under Attack
21. Twenty-First Century Populism
22. Designer Genes: A Leap of Faith
23. 160 Years of Poisonous Advertising
24. Who Invited These Chemicals to Dinner? A Leap of Hope