Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association


Chinese Peasants Taught the USDA to Farm Organically in 1909

May 21, 2019 – By Lena Zeldovich, JSTOR Daily – In 1909, American agricultural scientist Franklin Hiram King embarked on a journey to Asia. Having been chief of the Division of Soil Management in the USDA Bureau of Soils from 1902 to 1904, King was concerned about the United State’s rapidly deteriorating soil health. He wasn’t alone. The 19th and 20th centuries were marked by an increasing demand for food from the growing populations in Europe and America, along with decreasing soil productivity. But in Asia, the situation was starkly different. Chinese farmers grew their crops on the same land year after year, but their soil never seemed to lose its fertility.

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