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A Forty-Year Collection Of Organic History Documents…

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Roger Blobaum, World Sustainable Agriculture Association, meets with Tanghai County Administrator Ai Wenli and Peng Jun of the International Cooperation Department of the China Green Food Development Center in the early 1990s in Hebei Province, China

“Before long we had put the first of five refrigerators in our basement and were selling organic foods from our home. The trade became so brisk that we decided to move the store to Grinnell.” - - Van's Health Food Store, Grinnell, Iowa 1970s

"We had better crops, we had fewer weeds, and we had easier farming."

Roger Blobaum in rural China, 1974, as a member of the first group of U.S. farmers invited by the Chinese government to tour agricultural areas after the “opening” that followed President Nixon’s visit.

“Each year without chemicals our crops get better, and today we are out doing our chemical neighbors.”

Roger Blobaum, director of the Americans for Safe Food Project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, presents signatures of 136,000 consumers in support of the Organic Foods Production Act Bill to Senator Patrick Leahy on March 22, 1990.

Word of their good crops, despite the drought, spread throughout the region and K.C. Livermore had a steady stream of visitors ranging from college students to bankers.

“At the time we moved on this farm, the east side had a red-looking soil. The topsoil is black and fertile now.” -- Clarence Van Sant, 1970s Iowa farmer

“We don’t have the weed problems we had when we were using chemicals. When we dropped chemicals, we found the weeds didn’t grow as fast as the crops did. And it isn’t hard to control weeds without chemicals."

“Our veterinary thought we had switched vets, because he didn’t have to come out anymore like he used to.”

Lester Frohrip (left), president of the Soil Association of Minnesota, talks with board members Melvin Duntaman, Ardell Anderson and Larry Eggen. “The first thing we are trying to do is collect all the organic farming information that is available."

"Every Year Was Better; The Fourth Was the Turning Point. It Was Just Wonderful To Be Able to Farm That Way Again"

“On the last round when we were combining oats, there were about 200 pheasants running ahead of the combine and we had to stop several times to let them get out of the way.”

Hundreds of cattle and hogs on Engleken’s Organic Farm

A Personal Invitation from Roger Blobaum

Welcome to my organic farming website! I invite you to explore these historic materials that describe and document my involvement, and the involvement of many others, in the evolution of the organic and sustainable agriculture movement.

A chance visit in 1971 to an organic crop and livestock farm near Grinnell, Iowa, was the life-changing experience that led me to decide to make organic farming my main professional interest and personal passion. It inspired me to choose work and public service advocacy that would help build support and respect for environmentally sound farming. And it led to my early decision to save documents and other materials I felt might have historic significance later.

These documents and materials were saved during 40 years of work as an independent agricultural consultant and as an active participant in more than 35 state, regional, national, and international nonprofit organizations. The issues addressed include preservation of agricultural land, solar and other alternative sources of farm energy, organic farming research, development of national and international organic standards and guidelines, state corporate farming laws, organic integrity, and international organic accreditation.

This website, brought to you as a public service, contains a carefully chosen sample drawn from the much larger collection I am donating to the Wisconsin Historical Society. Along with contributions from many others, these documents and materials will be part of an archived national collection that tells the fascinating story of the organic and sustainable agriculture movement. This initiative has been made possible by the generous support of The Ceres Trust a privately-administered charitable trust based in the Midwest.

The development of this website would not have been possible without the organizational skill and organic farming expertise of Atina Diffley, who conceptualized and designed the site and organized the huge amount of historic material selected. Her excellent work enables me to share this fascinating organic and sustainable agriculture movement history with you.