By Louis Bromfield
Summary: In 1939 Pulitzer Prize winner and farsighted agriculturist Louis Bromfield established Malabar Farm, a thousand acre spread in the heart of Ohio that would become a hotbed for sustainable agriculture research as well as a popular getaway for Hollywood celebrities (Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall wed there in 1945, with Bromfield serving as best man). Bromfield would dedicate Malabar to what he considered the biggest challenge facing the country—conservation of the soil and water—pouring the profits of his writing into developing practices considered highly radical at the time, such as controlled grazing, crop rotation, contour plowing, and the use of natural instead of artificial fertilizers. In this 1950 article, Bromfield gives a glimpse of the philosophy behind his “conservation farming,” reflecting an understanding of the connection between soil health, microbial life, and animal and human nutrition that is truly years ahead of its time. “It is the duty of every citizen,” Bromfield urged, “to support and fight for—and possibly initiate—measures having to do with conservation of soil, water, and forests.” From The Role of Research in the Conservation of Our Nutritional Resources, 1950. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 85.