"There is a Garden in the Mind" - Alan Chadwick and the Organic Movement

As CCOF continues to celebrate our 40th anniversary, we reflect on the pioneers and innovators who have helped make organic what it is today. Our Santa Cruz home offers a diverse agricultural history rich with stories of unique individuals working towards a sustainable and healthy food system. Recently, Dr. Paul Lee of CCOF-certified member Homeless Garden Project published There is a Garden in the Mind: A Memoir of Alan Chadwick and the Organic Movement in California, offering a look at the work and life of pioneering organic gardener Alan Chadwick and his impact on organic agriculture and UC Santa Cruz. Chadwick is remembered for being a loud voice for organic agriculture in California and a founding father of the organic movement.  

There is a Garden in the Mind recounts Lee’s introduction to Chadwick and their subsequent founding of the student garden at UC Santa Cruz in 1967, which has evolved into a powerhouse for sustainable agriculture training and research. But back in the 1960s, “organic” was a term that belonged to university chemists, not farmers. Lee delves philosophically into the politics of the conflict between science and nature as well as the formation of the term “organic,” and explores the origins of the environmental movement. He elucidates Chadwick’s long-lasting contributions to organic and sustainable agriculture and solidifies Chadwick’s place in the history of the sustainable agriculture movement.

Santa Cruz is CCOF’s home and headquarters. Our office is only minutes away from UC Santa Cruz and just down the street from Natural Bridges Farm/Homeless Garden Project. Many of our staff grow Chadwick cherry tomatoes in our gardens, developed by Chadwick himself, so it’s no surprise that we revere the work of these two men in solidifying organic and sustainable agriculture as a viable alternative to conventional agriculture. We encourage you to get a copy and learn more about this region’s rich agricultural history.

A Publisher’s Weekly review of the book can be read online. The book will be available March 12 in stores and is currently online for preorder. Dr. Paul Lee will be at Bookshop Santa Cruz on March 13 to discuss his new book.