While perusing a book titled
Fauna in soil ecosystems: recycling processes, nutrient fluxes and
agricultural production (edited by Gero Benckiser, Marcel Dekker, 1997,
ISBN 0-8247-9786-8) I encountered a very interesting quote attributed to
an individual somewhat infamous in sustainable ag circles. In 1855, Justus
Von Liebig wrote:
"Unfortunately the true beauty of agriculture with its intellectual and
animating principles is almost unrecognized. The art of agriculture will
be lost when ignorant, unscientific and short sighted teachers persuade
the farmer to put all his hopes in universal remedies, which don't exist
in nature. Following their advice, bedazzled by an ephemeral success, the
farmer will forget the soil and lose sight of his inheent values and their
The original source of this quote is Liebig von, J. (1855)
Die Grundsatze der Agriculturchemie mit Rucksicht auf die in England
angestellten Untersuchungen. Braunschweig.
Those are some interesting words to ponder in this age of biotech promises
of "universal remedies"...
Center for Agriculture, Food and Environment
P.S. I have the original German if anyone is interested.
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