The Organiculturist’s Creed

Writing in 1948, J.I. Rodale discusses the growing organic movement and its practices, setting it at odds with the status quo of the day.

By J.I. Rodale


The use of poison sprays in orchards and on farm crops is taboo, for there is definite evidence to confirm the fact that the strengthening of a plant or tree by the use of composts makes that plant or tree much less susceptible to infestation by insects or disease than does recourse to sprays.  Recent controlled experiments with aphids in the United States Government Agricultural Stations showed that the more chemical fertilizers were used, the more attractive plants, thus grown, became to the aphids. The organiculturist fervently believes that even on a commercial scale orcharding can eventually eliminate all dependence on poison sprays. 

The use of coal ashes in the garden is unwise, as they contain the strong element ammonium sulphate, which is also found in chimney soot. The treating of seeds with antiseptic poisons for the purpose of killing off disease organisms is likewise injudicious, for such poisons are absorbed into the seed.

We are not in favor of using human excrement or sewage sludge which stems from it, on food crops. If it is composted separately it could be used on lawns and ornamentals. It should never be used unless thoroughly composted. To accomplish this sludge must first be thoroughly pulverized. We believe there is a sufficiency of green matter available now. If the problem becomes more acute later, the whole problem of the use of human excrement must be investigated thoroughly. 

The organiculturist farmer must realize that in him is placed a sacred trust, the task of producing food that will impart health to the people who consume it. As a patriotic duty he assumes an obligation to preserve the fertility of the soil, a precious heritage that he must pass on, undefiled and even enriched, to subsequent generations.