"In 1984, when the gas leak from Union Carbide's pesticide plant in Bhopal killed thousands, I asked myself why agriculture had become like war. In the War on Bugs, Will Allen tells us why. Whether you care about the bugs, or the food you grow or eat, this is a book you must read. It will help us all move from violent agriculture to a non-violent agriculture which protects all life and our health."--Dr. Vandana Shiva, director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy and author of Stolen Harvest
"Will Allen exposes how at every turn the government and the chemical industry steered us toward synthetic and poisonous solutions to the challenges of farming, drawing upon a unique combination of scientific knowledge about their devastating effects on the environment and a rich understanding of the organic approach--from doing it, as a farmer, in the fields."--Mark Schapiro, editorial director of the Center for Investigative Reporting and author, Exposed
"I have often wondered why independent-minded farmers follow the recommendations of chemical and GMO seed salesmen. Will Allen takes us through the history of chemical agriculture in the US, tracing the collusion among chemical companies, university researchers and the media to convince farmers that chemicals are 'progressive,' and absolutely necessary to the success of their farms."--Elizabeth Henderson, author, Sharing the Harvest
"Because of Will Allen, and other organic farmers and advocates like him, we now can choose to eat foods without industrial chemicals, wear clothes made from cotton grown without pesticides, and look again at farms-at least the organic ones-as places of natural harmony, not as industrial wastelands. In The War on Bugs, Allen documents how chemical weapons manufacturers, among others, convinced farmers to spray their toxic wastes on our soil, devastating our land and our health. You won't believe what they didn't teach you in school. The produce aisle will never look the same to you again."--John Passacantando, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA
"In classical Indian music the lineage and intellectual approach of master and disciples is known as a gharana. Rachel Carson's 100th anniversary provoked an enormous attack on her from the pesticide-reactionary complex, shamelessly misrepresenting both her work and its consequences, and quite literally calling her a mass murderer responsible for the resurgence of malaria. Will Allen is a worthy student of Carson's gharana, and in telling the history of earlier such assaults from the pesticide complex, he shows us that her spirit and art are alive, well--and still badly needed."--Carl Pope, Executive Director, Sierra Club
"The War on Bugs is must reading for organic consumers and every concerned citizen. Will Allen tells us the incredible story, in clear but rousing language, of how corporations, out-of-control scientists, and indentured government have carried out a literal 100 Year War against organic and sustainable agriculture and family farms, and provides inspiration for the organic food and farming revolution which is already underway."--Ronnie Cummins, National Director, Organic Consumers Association
Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment-
"This book is useful and important to anthropologists not because of the answers that it gives but because of the questions that it asks and the answers it suggests that we need to find. … Allen’s work asks us to dig deeper into the history of the small family farmer and to understand in detail the process by which the image imposed on American farming by agribusiness came to dominate public consciousness. … Allen’s ambitiousness in writing this book has brought broad and related themes into view that converge in the historical processes and public consciousness surrounding chemical farming in the United States. It is a highly useful book for under-graduate classes and for scholars seeking to develop new ideas and critical perspectives on the history of current issues in agriculture."
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 (www.cedarcirclefarm.org). 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.