Review: Julian Rose’s “In Defence of Life”

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InDefenceOfLifeBy Rowan Wolf

This is a review of Julian Day Rose’s new book “In Defence of Life. Pragmatic Proposals for a Planet in Distress.” published by Earth Books.

Julian Rose is an early pioneer of UK organic farming, an actor and a writer. He has broadcast regularly with the BBC and authored hundreds of articles on ‘green’ issues. He is currently President of The International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside. He lives in Whitchurch on Thames, UK.

Mr. Rose speaks from his decades of experience as an activist and organic farmer in this insightful, integrative book. The book is a series of articles focused at informing people of the mechanisms of domination of the globalized corporate agricultural machine, and how various peoples’ choices and movements can shift us onto a sustainable path.

What Rose has done with this compilation of essays is something that great authors should aim for. He has taken grounded base of organic farming and woven the story that depicts how the power of the corporations can transform that basic idea.

Here is one example of the many integrative tasks Rose successfully navigates. “Organic farming” conveys the idea of small and local, but lots of care and even a sense of community around the food that is produced. The “consumer”  is ideally part of that community and not simply a consumer/customer. In comes corporate agriculture and suddenly we are looking at has become the standard food model complete with factory farms, mono-agriculture, and organic food actually covering more miles from farm to plate that non-organic.  Rose integrates globalized agriculture and demonstrates how the very concept of “organic” has become just another “label” and one that is also more expensive.

Mr. Rose does not leave us a drift in the world of corporate cooptation, but also discusses how we can take the power back.

If you care about how things work, and also community organizing, “In Defense of Life” is an excellent resource and I highly recommend it.

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