In Annelise Abbot’s newly-published work, “Malabar Farm: Louis Bromfield, Friends of the Land, and the Rise of Sustainable Agriculture,” the author looks at how the Farm pioneered soil conservation and grew the sustainable agriculture movement.
According to the publisher, Kent State University Press, Abbot “… tells the story of Malabar Farm within the context of the wider histories of soil conservation and other environmental movements, especially the Ohio-based organization Friends of the Land. As one of the few surviving landmarks of this movement, which became an Ohio state park in 1976, Malabar Farm provides an intriguing case study of how soil conservation began, how it was marginalized during the 1950s, and how it now continues to influence the modern idea of sustainable agriculture.
To see Malabar strictly as a modern production farm—or a nature preserve, or the home of a famous novelist—oversimplifies the complexity of what Bromfield actually did. Malabar wasn’t a conventional farm or an organic farm; it was both. It represents a middle ground that is often lacking in modern discussions about sustainability or environmental issues, yet it remains critically important. Today, as Malabar Farm State Park remains a working farm with a new interpretive center that opened in 2006, its importance and impact continue for current and future generations.
Author Stephen Heyman, who 1812Blockhouse interviewed at the time of his recognized biography of Bromfield, “The Planter of Modern Life,” said this of Abbott’s work, “This is a work of great passion, which finally puts Bromfield’s soil crusade in historical context.”
The book may be purchased on Amazon here.