2014 Keynote Speaker: Will Allen

Will Allen grew up on a small farm in southern California and served in the Marine Corps between the Korean and Vietnam wars. He received a PhD in Anthropology (focused on Peruvian tropical forest agriculture) and taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, before being fired and sentenced to a year in jail for civil rights and antiwar activism. He returned to farming and farm labor full time in 1972 and has been farming organically ever since in Oregon, California, and Vermont, where he now comanages Cedar Circle Farm. He founded the Sustainable Cotton Project in 1991 and served as its executive director for thirteen years. He is currently a cochair of Farms Not Arms, is a policy advisory board member of the Organic Consumers Association, and serves on the board of Rural Vermont.

Book: The War on Bugs

 

“In 1984, when the gas leak from Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in Bhopal killed thousands, I asked myself why agriculture had become like war. In The War on Bugs, Will Allen tells us why. Whether you care about the bugs, or the food you grow or eat, this is a book you must read. It will help us all move from violent agriculture to a non-violent agriculture which protects all life and our health.”

– Dr. Vandana Shiva, author of Stolen Harvest and Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy
“The War on Bugs is must reading for organic consumers and every concerned citizen. Will Allen tells us the incredible story, in clear but rousing language, of how corporations, out-of-control scientists, and indentured government have carried out a literal 100 Year War against organic and sustainable agriculture and family farms, and provides inspiration for the organic food and farming revolution already underway.”

– Ronnie Cummins, National Director, Organic Consumers Association

Will Allen’s War on Bugs documents how advertisers, editors, scientists, large scale farmers, government agencies, and even Dr. Seuss, colluded to convince farmers to use deadly chemicals, hormones, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in an effort to pad their wallets and control the American farm enterprise.
Utilizing dozens of original advertisements and promotions to illustrate the story, Allen details how consumers and activists have struggled against toxic food. Echoing the warnings of seminal works on the topic like, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, 100,000 Guinea Pigs by Arthur Kallet and F.J. Schlink, and Silent Springby Rachel Carson, The War on Bugs shouts that the time to stop poisoning our food, water, air, and ourselves is now!