Origin and Development of OF

The organic movement began after 1920, as a reaction by individual agricultural scientists and farmers against industrialized agriculture. Following World War II and the time of food shortage, technology helped propel the rapid growth of mechanized, chemical based farming. At this point, organic concerns began to touch the wider public. During the 1960s, as problems with pesticides and related environmental and health matters became front page news, the organic movement entered its modern phase, with widespread democratic support in a range of issues. There have been three important movements:

• biodynamic agriculture - appeared in Germany in 1924 under the inspiration of Rudolf Steiner; he emphasized the farmer's role in guiding and balancing the interaction of animals, plants, and soil; healthy animals depended upon healthy plants (for their food), healthy plants upon healthy soil, healthy soil upon healthy animals (for the manure);

organic farming - originated in England on the basis of the theories developed by Albert Howard; he docu mented traditional Indian farming practices, and came to regard them as superior to his conventional agricultural science; his research and further develop ment of these methods is recorded in his writings of 1948; and

• biological agriculture - developed in Switzerland by Hans Peter Rusch and Hans Muller.

Since 1991 when OF was defined in the EU by a legisla tive standard, individual historical organic methods have been losing their importance as they are rather difficult to distinguish for a consumer. One exception is in the bio dynamic method, based on scientific knowledge of spirituality, under the Demeter trademark.

Despite the vitality of these movements, OF remained undeveloped in Europe for many years. Throughout the 1950s, the main aim of farming was to achieve a major improvement in productivity so as to satisfy immediate needs for food. Therefore, OF was unlikely to be viewed very favorably.

By the end ofthe 1960s, and especially in the 1970s, OF came to the forefront in response to emerging awareness of environmental conservation issues. New associations grew up (e.g., IFOAM), involving producers, consumers, and others interested in ecology and a lifestyle more in tune with nature. OF took off in the 1980s, when new produc tion methods continued to develop, along with consumer interest in wholesome, environmentally friendly products, not only in most European countries but also in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan.

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