Organic Farms: Turning Back to the Land

Organic farming visionary Art Hellemann talks about his opposition to conventional agriculture, and why organic farms and their crops are so important to the health of our country.

| March/April 1975

Art Hellemann who has farmed his family's Illinois acreage since 1922, changed to organic farming methods "way back when" before organic farms were heard of. Evidently the switch was a good one because Hellemann has since made the place pay off while folks all around him were giving up and heading for town. In his spare time, Art experiments with methane production ... and reflects on the forces that now threaten to bring the existing social structure down around our ears. 

Our founding fathers established this nation on a dream: a philosophy that allowed an individual to, grow, develop, and succeed or fail to the limit of his or her ability. That system worked with better than average success for about 150 years. Then the basic beliefs of our people were changed ... not by force but by means of education.

What happened was that our schools, colleges, and universities stopped trying to give the student an understanding of "the fullness of life", and instead guided him or her toward specialization: the learning of more and more about some fragmented part of life. Intelligence was no longer judged by common sense and grasp of reality, but by college degrees.

The news media — the press, radio, and television, which are very powerful educational devices — followed and promoted the same monocultural philosophy. Its effect was to prepare the student to work for, buy from, and be dependent on "the establishment" ... which is exactly what most people do today. This would be a big joke, if only it weren't corrupting and polluting the whole earth and threatening our very existence.

We are nearing the end of a half century that has produced the greatest scientific and technical advancement in world history. Unfortunately, these innovations haven't solved mankind's problems. Instead, they seem to have complicated life and increased the burdens of humanity ... and more of the same methods will produce more of the same result.

The trouble is that most people's education doesn't include the most basic facts of all ... for example, the three "fives" we must remember if we want to survive:

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