Good Spaces
Good Food - Good Times - Good Spaces
Some thoughts on Sir Albert Howard
I was fortunate to run across a UK group called the Soil Association when I was still a teenager and from that organization I was directed to books by Albert Howard.  Thankfully I was enough of a rebel that I took his advice seriously and went to a lot of trouble to apply his thinking in a world that had very little interest in the approach.

The organic movement is now well known and "cool" but 50+ years ago, that wasn't the case.  And even today, it is questionable whether the "organic" label means a lot.  Howard's views, if followed, would result in a very different society than we see around us.  It is difficult for a dollar driven system to avoid simply putting an "organic" label on a "dollar driven product".  And being a system rebel provides a costly and challenging road. There are really great payoffs, but people who get a gym membership and eat "organic" yogurt and suddenly feel that they are fit and healthy are much more common than people who are actually taking practical steps that deliver the goods.  Howard wasn't a one trick pony nor did he advance a "one trick pony" approach to agriculture and associated health impacts.

The prevalence of heart disease and cancer and the more recent waves of viral infections are illustrations of the relevance of Howard's observations and advice from many years ago.  If he were still living, he could fairly state "I told you so!"  Making drastic reforms once the shit starts hitting the fan is not a "very good" solution.  There are many aspects of life that need to be understood and acted on long before the good or bad results become apparent.  And I appreciate Howard in that his books helped me to get started when I needed to get started - a long time back!

Anyone who blunders across this website and is unaware of Al Howard will do themselves a great favour by having a look at his relatively simple thinking on how agriculture and its vital outputs have such a major impact on each human.  Living Entities, such as we all are, are unique sparks and the privilege of "being" has a link to having a functional body that remains alive for an acceptable period of time!  Hard to "Live" when you are half dead or glued together with multiple drugs!  Hanging around for a while gives one time to think and learn and, I do feel that a lot of the principles involved with simply "existing" in a satisfactory manner, are truly "educational" principles - with a double payoff!  Achieving an old age is really useful, educationally, in that you have a rapid access hard-drive, loaded with information that your central processor can work with - and all "living beings" have a central processor that can look back, look at the present, and look ahead. And that capacity, armed with a personal memory load, is a really powerful tool!

I am tossing this page together during the Covid-19 lockdown.  Time is available.  Give Al Howard a read!  Maybe get your game up before the next shock wave hits!  As an old guy, I can look at a pothole free road up to this point and there is little evidence that I am about to drop off the cliff right yet! A checkmark for Advisor Al!

One Howard link follows - as well as his books, there is lots of Howard material available for an interested mind.

Here are a few pages from Howard's "The Soil and Health" book.  He was convinced that negative health effects were not normal and were indicators that basic principles were not understood and not being followed correctly.  His experiments and experiences supported that theory.  He felt that this basic theory applied to plants, animals, and to humans who relied on the plants and animals for food.

He saw disease issues as dashboard warning lights that let the machine operator know that there were problems with the machine and more importantly, how it was being looked after.  Thus, for him, disease occurances were educators rather than an enemy that needed to be knocked out.

The pages tell about his rather amusing experiences with viral foot and mouth disease. A read will quickly tell you that Howard's viewpoint is not in line with current agricultural and medical thinking. One has to ask "Who is correct?"

There is likely no argument over the need for immunity to disease - the crunch is "How can immunity to disease be achieved?"

Will a reactive approach work or does a satisfactory solution lie with a longer term approach that prevents the difficulty from occurring in the first place?

If you eye the Howard quote on the home page of this website, you will notice that Howard predicted the eventual failure of the agro/medical system in that medical costs would go through the ceiling.  A vaccine for every virus is a pricy route to have to follow.

The Covid crisis has pushed society into the unpleasant position of putting the entire economic system at risk in order to weather the viral problem - sort of like having to amputate your kidneys to save your lungs.  Will the gamble work?

Better to have avoided the tough decision with foresight!  I think Howard provided insight that has been largely ignored.

Lower on this page, there is an article, written more recently, that also deals with the foot and mouth issue.  I think it is worth thinking about the clash between the "modern" approach to foot and mouth disease and the view expressed by Howard and by David Crowe in the 2001 article. There is an obvious clash between men, none of whom are total fools. Where did the paths part that allow such different practical approaches?

Note Crowe's comment regarding the accepted policy of "viral extermination" having become such a standard practice that governments are compelled to apply it, due to world pressure.  Logic has been trumped by a world scale herd mentality.  Does this example ring any bells when one looks at the handling of the Covid "crisis"?