Wisconsin Historical Society Organic History Collection


Link to the Collection 

The Wisconsin Historical Society has initiated an effort to acquire, manage, and provide access to personal papers, organizational records, and other materials of an archival nature that document the growth and significance of the organic and sustainable agriculture movement in the United States. Wisconsin farmers and organizations have been leaders in organic agriculture for many years, and the Society’s goal is to act as the premier national archival repository that preserves and provides access to the records of this important social movement. The Historical Society’s Library-Archives has been a leader in collecting materials documenting social change movements in the United States, as well as aspects of agriculture in Wisconsin and the United States including agricultural policy, implements, and cooperatives. Collecting materials documenting the organic and sustainable agriculture movement is a natural outgrowth of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s previous collecting activities.

The Ceres Trust, a Midwest-based private charitable trust involved in assisting and promoting organic agriculture, has allocated funding to support the start of the new organic and sustainable agriculture collecting focus at the Wisconsin Historical Society. Roger Blobaum, an advocate for organic and sustainable agriculture since the 1970s, will identify key individuals and organizations as a starting point, and these will be our initial collecting focus. Materials of interest may include paper records, photographs, audio-visual materials, and electronic files. The actual selection, acquisition, accessioning, access, and on-going preservation of the identified organic and sustainable agriculture collections will be the responsibility of Wisconsin Historical Society Library-Archives personnel using recognized professional practices and Society policies and procedures.

Key collecting areas within organic and sustainable agriculture that the Historical Society will attempt to document through this initiative include leaders and pioneers in the organic and sustainable agriculture movement; pioneering national organic agriculture organizations and development of the organic agriculture infrastructure; organizations that promote and assist organic agriculture; organic certification organizations and the standards development process; input companies that develop, sell, and distribute seeds, organic fertilizer, and other requirements for organic agriculture production; organic agriculture farmers and farmer cooperatives; organic agriculture sales and marketing enterprises including restaurants using and promoting organic and locally sourced ingredients; and local and alternative agricultural distribution including direct sales, CSAs, farmers’ markets, urban farming, and food cooperatives and warehouses.