Join Washington College’s Environmental Science and Studies Teaching Fellow, Dr. Andrew Case, for a book talk and signing of his new book, “The Organic Profit: Rodale and the Making of Marketplace Environmentalism.”
From green-lifestyle mavens who endorse products on social media to natural health activists sponsored by organic food companies, the marketplace for advice about how to live life naturally is better stocked than ever. Where did the curious idea of buying one’s way to sustainability come from?
In no small part, as Andrew Case shows, the answer lies in the story of entrepreneur and reformer J. I. Rodale, his son Robert Rodale, and their company, the Rodale Press. These pioneers of organic gardening were also pioneers in cultivating a niche for natural health products in the 1950s, organizing the emerging marketplace for organic foods in the 1960s, and publishing an endless supply of advice books on diet and health in the process.
Rodale’s marketplace environmentalism brought environmentally minded consumers together and taught Americans how to grow food, eat, and live in more environmentally friendly ways. Yet the marketplace has proved more effective at addressing individual health concerns than creating public health interventions. It is as liable to champion unproven and ineffectual health supplements as it is to challenge the indiscriminant use of dangerous pesticides. For anyone trying to make sense of the complex tensions between business profits and the desire for environmental reform, The Organic Profit is essential reading.
This event will take place on Wednesday, March 28th at 4:30 pm in Litrenta Lecture Hall and is co-sponsored by the Center for Environment & Society, the Starr Center for the American Experience, and the Department of Environmental Science and Studies.
The event is FREE and open to the public and will be followed by a small reception and book signing in Toll Atrium.