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The organic movement has been growing steadily for more than 50 years, informing people about the dangers of pesticides and herbicides and encouraging them to eat “clean” and “go green”. Today, people are extending these beliefs not only to what they buy at the grocery store but also to what they produce at home in their gardens.
Although many people may associate organic gardening with the hippies of the 1960s, the movements roots go back further than that, all the way to the launch of Organic Farming and Gardening magazine back in May 1942.
The magazine was founded by J.I. Rodale, who predicted early in the 1940s that the chemicals taking over the agricultural industry would eventually be shunned by society. Although Rodale had the health interests of the public in mind, he was labeled a quack by many who thought his views were unfounded.
But what the public knows today of organic farming is a lot greater than in previous decades, and many homeowners think beyond what the supermarket offers in terms of organic produce. For some, going organic is an entire lifestyle.
In Clarkston, MI, for example, the local Chamber of Commerce will hold a Body Mind Green Expo on Thursday, March 12, for those interested local businesses with an organic, health-minded, or sustainable focus.
The event is in its third year and will feature everything from food from local organic markets to information on organic lawncare services.
Further away in New Hope, PA, environmental biologist and permaculture designer Melissa Miles will give a demonstration on gardening along with horticulture therapist Nancy Minich on March 21 through the Bucks County Audubon Society.
Miles, who is a NOFA accredited Organic Lawn Care Professional, will explain not only the benefits of gardening but demonstrate its therapeutic value as well.
These events and others that extol the virtues of organic growing methods indicate a shift in public perception of the use of chemicals.
A full 73 years after Rodale was derided for his views on chemical gardening, there is now government-approved classification of certified organic foods.
Fruits and vegetables grown organically are not only available in the supermarket but from local farmers, too. That’s a big bonus for the growing community of “localvores,” who, like organic enthusiasts, want to return to an earlier, more pure form of eating.