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There Is a Garden in the Mind: A Memoir of Alan Chadwick and the Organic Movement in California

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There Is a Garden in the Mind presents an engaging look at the work and life of pioneering organic gardener Alan Chadwick and his profound influence on the organic farming movement. In this wide-ranging and philosophical memoir, author Paul Lee recounts his first serendipitous meeting with Chadwick in Santa Cruz, California, in 1967, and their subsequent founding of the Chadwick Garden at UC Santa Cruz, the first organic and biointensive garden at a U.S. university.

Today, there are few who would dispute the ecological and health benefits of organically produced food, and the student garden project founded by Chadwick and Lee has evolved into a world-renowned research center that helps third-world farmers obtain high yields using organic gardening. But when Chadwick and Lee first broke ground in the 1960s, the term "organic" belonged to the university's chemists, and the Chadwick Garden spurred a heated battle against the whole system of industrial existence. Lee's memoir contextualizes this struggle by examining the centuries-old history of the conflict between industrial science and organic nature, the roots of the modern environmental movement and the slow food movement, and the origin of the term "organic." His account of Chadwick's work fills in a gap in the history of the sustainable agriculture movement and proposes that Chadwick's groundwork continues to bear fruit in today's burgeoning urban garden, locavore, and self-sufficiency movements.

Table of contents:
Chapter one The English Gardener Arrives
Chapter two The English Gardener Goes to Work
Chapter three The Garden Plot
Chapter four Goethe the Vitalist contra Newton the Physicalist
Chapter five Urea! I Found It!
Chapter six USA and Earth Day
Chapter seven The Method
Chapter eight Chadwick Departs
Chapter nine A Moral Equivalent of War
Chapter ten The Death of Chadwick
Chapter eleven California Cuisine and the Homeless Garden Project
Chapter twelve A Biodynamic Garden on Long Island
Chapter thirteen Chadwick's Legacy

248 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2013

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About the author

Paul A. Lee

5 books

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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Profile Image for Nada Miljkovic.
11 reviews5 followers
February 14, 2013
I loved this book. Written by philosophy professor and theologian, Dr. Paul Lee, There Is A Garden In the Mind, Alan Chadwick and the Organic Movement in California, is part philosophy, part personal meditation, and part tribute to a man who was a transformational figure in the organic movement that began from small seeds in California and has now reached a global community.

The book is the result of over thirty years of research and inquiry into the undermining of organic nature by modern science and industry and why the reaffirmation of organic nature had to be carried by the organic and environmental movements such that ‘organic’ became a buzzword. The first organic garden at a university (the University of California, Santa Cruz, 1967) was regarded by the scientists at the university as another hippie plot to further embarrass them. They thought ‘organic’ meant artificial and synthetic as carried on by ‘organic’ chemistry. This conflict between the organic Vitalist and the materialist Physicalist was exposed when Alan Chadwick began the student garden project and who would eventually be called “the world’s greatest gardener” (E. F. Schumacher) and who brought the Vitalist tradition of food and flower production from Goethe to Rudolf Steiner and the practice of Biodynamic and French Intensive systems and methods. Students flocked to him to learn about a sacramental understanding of nature opposed to the industrial /commercial relation. Chadwick initiated students into the mysteries and magic of nature from the layer of shellac in the seed to the nuptial flight of the Queen Bee. Tracing his gardening career from UCSC to Saratoga, to Green Gulch Zen Farm, to Covelo, to West Virginia, Chadwick is characterized as a Johnny Appleseed of the organic movement, transforming the lives of many of those he touched, taught, and trained.

Dr. Lee has published two books on the homeless: Florence the Goose and The Quality of Mercy.

Additional information can be found on his website: ecotopia.org.
Profile Image for Bob.
59 reviews7 followers
May 21, 2013
My favorite book this year so far. I was expecting a history/memoir, but what I got was a philosophical treatise on the how we moved from a living breathing world,full of spirit, to the mechanical, industrial juggernaut of despair we live in today. And gardening is a main character. Very deep and beautiful. I learned a lot. I have a ton of new authors, ideas and books to explore. Besides who cannot enjoy an author that explicitly states that he may love bibliographies even more than books! Weee
Profile Image for Dan Ditzler.
6 reviews
May 1, 2020
Great introduction to a fascinating grower of food and inspirer of souls ; Alan Chadwick... good overview of his life
Profile Image for Connie Kronlokken.
Author 10 books8 followers
April 27, 2014
Ranging over quite a bit of territory, Paul Lee describes his friendship with Alan Chadwick, and how he places him in the history of organic gardening. Chadwick started the UC Santa Cruz garden project in 1967 and left in 1972. Though he didn't say much about it, his techniques were partly from Rudolf Steiner. Paul Lee: "The garden in my mind is a long excursus on what I have learned from my association with Chadwick and his gardens, and the split in the culture: industrial technocracy against organic nature, accounting for the current environmental crisis."
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