Good Growing


Good Growing

Why Organic Farming Works

Leslie A. Duram

Our Sustainable Future Series

251 pages
Illus., map


March 2005


$22.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Over the past decade, organic products have become the fastest growing sector of agriculture, with an annual increase of at least 20 percent. This book explains why organic production and consumption have seen such phenomenal growth in recent years—and, even more important, why they should. A clear-eyed, close-up look at the compelling reasons for organic farming and the methods that make it work, Good Growing begins with a frank account of the problems with conventional industrial agriculture—the pesticide use, pollution, and corporate control that have undermined public health and devastated rural towns and family farms.
In-depth interviews with working organic farmers from across the country bring to life the facts and figures that Leslie Duram sets out in her extensive overview of the realities of organic farming today. Farmers with very different operations in California, Colorado, Illinois, Florida, and upstate New York give us an intimate understanding of the ecological, social, economic, and personal factors that shape their farming experiences. We also learn firsthand about the attractions and pleasures as well as the problems and concerns that accompany organic farming.
With its comprehensive view of the status of farming and its compelling portraits of organic farmers, Good Growing is, finally, a work of scientific advocacy describing a course of action, based on the best research available, to improve the health of agriculture in our day.

Author Bio

Leslie A. Duram is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Geography and Environmental Resources at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale.


“Altogether, Duram makes an excellent case for this rural ideal. Her work should be of interest to those looking for a resource that brings together much of the existing organic farming research, and to those who find individual narratives valuable for uncovering the reality of organic farming. At the same time, Duram raises several questions that point out the gaps in our knowledge and the need for further research and a better understanding of the different types of agriculture that currently exist.”—Lisa M. B. Harrington, Agriculture and Human Values

“The pragmatic use of . . . real-life examples increases the relevance and realism of the findings and enhances the credibility of the conclusion that organic production is a viable alternative.”—Lorna Holland, Experimental Agriculture

“The book is littered with interesting portraits of organic farmers discussing the realities of their way of life, and backed up with an extensive directory of organizations across the world for people interested in learning more or lending support.”—Sarah McCarthy, Ecologist

“Plant this book in the hands of students and in the minds of consumers. The yield will surprise everyone.”—Bob Scowcroft, Organic Farming Research Foundation

“Organic farming has gone from ‘crunchy’ to ‘corporate’ because it’s a win-win for consumers, family farmers, and the environment. Strict new standards and a strong labeling law have helped define the organic standard, and consumers are buying more organic products than ever before. It is the fastest growing sector of agriculture, and as consumers choose organics, they are investing in the future of our nation’s family farms. Good Growing will help the reader understand the value of organic farming.”—U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy

“This book is not a how-to, but an exposé of the risks, competiveness, and rewards of organic farming. It explains why organic production and consumption have seen such phenomenal growth and, more important, why they should.” —Gail Damerow, Rural Heritage

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