Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Eliot Coleman's Posts


Organic agriculture: deeply rooted in science and ecology

Coleman's Four Season Farm: Start with biodiversity and well-nourished soil, add some appropriate technology, then harvest lots of healthy food. Photo: Barbara DamroschOrganic farming is often falsely represented as being unscientific. However, despite the popular assumption that it sprang full born from the delusions of 60s hippies, it has a more extensive, and scientifically respectable, provenance. If you look back at the first flush of notoriety in the 1940s, the names most often mentioned, Sir Albert Howard and J. I. Rodale, rather than being the initiators, were actually just popularizers of a groundswell of ideas that had begun to develop …


A Farmer Speaks

Small is beautiful (and radical)

Biodiversity in action: lettuces grow at Four Season Farm. Photo: Four Season Farm This post was adapted from an address Coleman gave at this year's Eco-Farm conference in California. --------------------- When a friend told me of two of the proposed discussion topics for a major agricultural conference--"What is so radical about radical agriculture?" and "Is small the only beautiful?"--I told him that that I thought both questions had the same answer.  Let me see if I can explain. The radical idea behind by organic agriculture is a change in focus.  The new focus is on the quality of the crops …

Read more: Food


A farmer speaks

Debunking the meat/climate change myth

Editor's note: Eliot Coleman is one of the most revered and influential small-scale farmers in the United States, famous for growing delicious vegetables through the Maine winter with little use of fossil fuel. Eliot sent me the following letter as a response to my recent piece on the greenhouse-gas foorprint of industrial meat. At question is a 2007 report by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization called "Livestock's Long Shadow," which claimed that 18 percent of global human-induced greenhouse gas emissions stem from meat production. -- Tom Philpott ------------------- The problem is CAFOs, not cows.I am dismayed that so many …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Food