Organic Food and Farming: A Reference Handbook

ABC-CLIO. (Contemporary World Issues). Mar. 2021. 338p. ISBN 9781440870033. $63. REF
Freelance writer McIntyre divides this comprehensive overview of organic food into seven sections: background/history; problems, controversies, and solutions (hydroponics, animal welfare, GMOs, pesticide drift); nine essays from practitioners and academics; profiles of individuals and organizations; data and documents (such as legislation); annotated resources (print, visual, internet); and a detailed chronology (1840–2020), glossary, and index. Only in the history and profiles chapters, and very occasionally elsewhere, does the book look beyond the United States. McIntyre’s thorough and evenhanded consideration covers organic food and farming both as an industry and as a societal and philosophical phenomenon. Citing reliable sources throughout, she examines the consequences of consumer- or farmer-driven organic rules and standards and market regulation; she also looks at the way many discussions center on differences between organic and “regular” farming, rather than the values of organic farming. Her analyses of the economics of organics, and of issues like nutrition, environment/climate, and social justice, are in-depth. Extensive recent sources (within chapters, as well as in the data and resources sections) are excellent spurs for further exploration.
VERDICT McIntyre’s presentation of this complex subject combines authentic expertise with clear, objective communication for a nonexpert audience. Invaluable for new and advanced students of U.S. agriculture, business, and society.
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