This book investigates the emergence of organic food and farming as a social movement. Using the tools of political sociology it analyzes and explains how both people and ideas have shaped a movement that from its inception aimed to change global agriculture. Starting from the British Empire in the 1930's, where the first trans-national roots of organic farming took hold, through to the internet-mediated social protests against genetically modified crops at the end of the twentieth century, the author traces the rise to prominence of the movement. As well as providing a historical account, the book explains the movement's on-going role in fostering and organising alternatives to the dominant intensive and industrial forms of agriculture, such as promoting local food produce and animal welfare.
By considering it as a trans-national movement from its inception, aiming at cultural and social change, the book highlights what is unique about the organic movement and why it has risen only relatively recently to public attention. The author reports original research findings, focusing largely on the English-speaking world. The work is grounded in academic enquiry and theory, but also provides a narrative through which the movement can be understood by the more general interested reader.
'Written in an engaging and accessible style, this book presents a revealing and highly original account of the historical evolution of the organic farming and food movement. It is a welcome counterpoint to the many political economic analyses of organic farming and food that are now available.' – Carol Morris, University of Nottingham, UK
'Well-informed organic campaigners and strategists may find food for thought in Matthew Reed's whirlwind ride through some aspects of organic history, in Rebels for the Soil: The Rise of the Global Organic Food and Farming Movement.' – Erin Gill, Soil Association
'Thought-provoking' – Erin Gill, Soil Association
'It is in these strands that the book is at its strongest; in his thoughts about organic and the politics of food and indeed wider politics, the theme of citizenship and what a regenerated organic movement could have to offer, Matt Reed makes a valuable contribution that is well worth reading.' – ORC Bulletin, Dec 2010
"…the book is very interesting and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the development of social movements in general and the organic food and farming movement in particular" – Alan Renwick, Experimental Agriculture
Preface 1. Introduction 2. Social Movements 3. Saving the Soil 4. Poisonous Elixirs 5. Small, Beautiful and Reorganized, 1960's and 1970's 6. The Rise of Organic Food Retailing, 1980's 7. Fighting the Future – Against GM Crops 8. Peak Organics?