Meet Alan Chadwick, The High Priest of Hippie Horticulture

Foodnews 8.18.2015 alan-chadwick

Biodynamic pioneer Alan Chadwick turned America on to radical growing methods—influencing everyone from Alice Waters to winemakers Fetzer and Frey. So how come you’ve never heard of him?

Chadwick came to Santa Cruz on the recommendation of Freya von Moltke, the widow of a leader in the German resistance against Hitler. Her husband, Count Helmuth von Moltke, was arrested, accused of treason, and hanged. But before Helmuth was executed, he sent word to his wife requesting that she make a place where young people could learn about creation in a world of destruction. The countess, often described as Chadwick’s muse, may have had that request in mind when she mentioned his name to Paul Lee, a UCSC philosophy professor who had pitched the idea of developing a teaching garden to the school’s chancellor.

Chadwick arrived on campus without so much as a salary or official position. He simply began digging—14 hours a day, seven days a week—on a steep and barren hillside of chaparral and poison oak. Within a year, he had transformed that hillside into a vibrant and abundant garden of flowers, vegetables, and fruit trees. Young men and women were soon drawn to work with this temperamental perfectionist who cared about his garden above all else.

Read on about Alan Chadwick at Modern Farmer.

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