"I have often wondered why independent-minded farmers follow the recommendations of chemical and GMO seed salesmen. Will Allen takes us through the history of chemical agriculture in the US, tracing the collusion among chemical companies, university researchers and the media to convince farmers that chemicals are 'progressive,' and absolutely necessary to the success of their farms."
—Elizabeth Henderson, author of Sharing the Harvest
Will Allen is an organic farming visionary. A true activist, entrepreneur, and expert, he understands the complexities of farming firsthand and the impact that commercialization has had.
In the early nineteenth century as the American population grew rapidly, demands on crop output increased. Seeing an opportunity to play upon fears from market demand, chemical companies declared war on the vile, profit-sucking, output-wrecking, arch-nemesis of the average American farmer – bugs. With precision, pesticide manufacturers delivered a “shock and awe” media campaign, that can only be paralleled to the current blitzkrieg from today’s pharmaceutical companies. Bugs were the threat to the American dream – and there was a cure available to every farmer available in spray, granule, dust, or systemic form that could be applied to your crops.
Will Allen’s War on Bugs reveals how advertisers, editors, scientists, large scale farmers, government agencies, and even Dr. Seuss, colluded to convince farmers to use deadly chemicals, hormones, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in an effort to pad their wallets and control the American farm enterprise.
Utilizing dozens of original advertisements and promotions to illustrate the story, Allen details how consumers and activists have struggled against toxic food. Echoing the warnings of seminal works on the topic, like The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, 100,000 Guinea Pigs by Arthur Kallet and F.J. Schlink, and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, The War on Bugs shouts that the time to stop poisoning our food, water, air, and ourselves is now!