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Articles by Eliot Coleman

Eliot Coleman has over 30 years experience in all aspects of organic farming, including field vegetables, greenhouse vegetables, rotational grazing of cattle and sheep, and range poultry. He is the author of The New Organic Grower, Four Season Harvest, and most recently The Winter Harvest Handbook. He has contributed chapters to three scientific books on organic agriculture and has written extensively on the subject since 1975. Eliot and his wife Barbara Damrosch presently operate a commercial year-round market garden, in addition to horticultural research projects, at Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine.

Featured Article

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 some 50 years earlier in the 1890s.

A growing coterie of farmers, landlords, scientists, and rural philosophers in both England and Germany had begun questioning the wisdom of the chemically based agriculture that had grown so prominent from its tiny beginning in the 1840s. Advances in biological sciences during the late 19th century, such as those that explained the workings of nitrogen fixation, mycorrhizal association, and soil microbial life supported their case. Those new sciences set the stage for a deeper understandin... Read more

All Articles

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]