Look To the Land

Lord Northbourne wrote this inspiring book as war breaks out around and the government looks to chemical agriculture to feed he country during the crisis. Several authors consider that this is the first instance of the phrase ‘organic farming’. This is disputed but John Paull considers Northbourne is heavily influenced by Pfeiffer’s biodynamic concept of the farm organism. He says

Northbourne coined the term ‘organic farming’ (James & Fitzgerald, 2008; Paull, 2006; Scofield, 1986). “In the long run, the results of attempting to substitute chemical farming for organic farming are probably far more deleterious than has yet become clear.” (Look To The Land – 1940 p.103).

John Paul continues:

Northbourne’s Look to the Land delivered a message congruent with Pfeiffer’s 1938 book and with the 1939 Betteshanger Summer School, while nevertheless excising any Germanic or Anthroposophic heritage, although his book did acknowledge (on page 173) the efficacy of biodynamic practices. Northbourne’s was a secularized British manifesto which presented fresh insights while drawing much from biodynamics including its nominative core motif of ‘the farm is an organism’.