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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 untested 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.