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Environment and History

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Environment and History

Soil: A Real and Imagined Environment for Australian Organic Farmers and Gardeners in the 1940s

Rebecca Jones

Environment and History 14(2008): 205-215. doi: 10.3197/096734008X303737

Early organic farmers and gardeners of the 1940s in Australia approached organic practice with a set of ideals about nature, but their experience of cultivating the land, growing plants and raising animals often contradicted this ideal. Here I explore the disparity between real and imagined environments in Australian organic farming and gardening. I will consider a significant period in the development of organic growing, the decade after the end of the Second World War, when Australia's first organic societies were established in south eastern Australia. Organic growers attempted to change their environments to fit their imaginings, and in turn their ideals were adapted to fit Australian environmental realities. Weaving real and imagined environments created a form of farming and gardening that was both a set of practical methods for managing the land and a set of environmental ideals.

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