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A fond farewell to Organic Gardening magazine

organic gardening edit coverThe last issue of Organic Gardening is on the shelves now. Rodale, the name synonymous with all-things organic, will relaunch Organic Gardening  as Organic Living with a May-June issue.

This last issue is an obituary, of sorts, for yet another gardening magazine. The magazine is being rebranded, so it’s not going away completely. The Rodale spin is the new magazine will encompass what’s now become a lifestyle.

“Organic is now about so much more than gardening. It’s about your whole life – your home, your health, and our future together on this beautiful amazing Earth,” wrote Maria Rodale, chairman and chief executive officer of Rodale Inc., and granddaughter of the founder, in the magazine’s farewell letter. Rodale publishes several popular magazines: Men’sHealth, Women’sHealth, Running!, Prevention, Runners and Bicycling, as well as many books.

In some ways, we’ve come a long way since the late J.I. Rodale founded Organic Gardening in May 1942. “One of these fine days, the public is going to wake up and will pay or eggs, meats, vegetables, etc., according to how they were produced,” he wrote.

At the time, J.I. Rodale and his promotion of organic practices bucked the trend toward widespread acceptance of pesticide use in agriculture. Today, his notions of composting, building the soil, avoiding pesticides, eating fresh food and living in a sustainable manner have moved beyond trendy to commonplace.

Many of us are concerned about how our food is grown, how far it has to travel to get to our table, food safety, freshness and the humane treatment of the animals we eat. From Walmart to Whole Foods, grocers promote their organic produce and other selections. Many vendors at farmers markets specialize in organic food. The USDA now has an organic food label for products that meet certain standards.

Of course, there are still issues. Many of us grab the spray of the day for an insect or disease because of aesthetics rather than harm to a plant as we model the perfect flowers, fruit and vegetables we know from the agriculture model. And we want to know what our packaged food is made of. A bill has been introduced again this year in the Indiana General Assembly that would require labeling on food if an ingredient is a genetically modified organism, or GMO.

So, I sadly bid adieu to Organic Gardening, a magazine that has been inspiring me since I started writing this column in 1989. And, I’m proud to continue providing readers information about practical, natural and organic practices for your gardens and landscape.

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