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James Patrick Madden

Leaders in Alternative and Sustainable Agriculture: Oral History Interview Series

James Patrick Madden
Institute of Alternative Agriculture
Greenbelt, Maryland

Interview by Jane Gates with James Patrick Madden with an introduction by Jayne MacLean.
Beltsville, Md. : National Agricultural Library, 1990.


Dr. J. Patrick Madden was for many years a professor at Pennsylvania State University and acting director of USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, formerly known as LISA. He helped to design and develop the program.

Access the video in segments from the video menu below or you may watch each segment consecutively to view the full interview. The title for each segment provides a brief description of the topics discussed.

The segments in the Questions section are drawn from the full interview. They duplicate video segments from the menu. These are not verbatim questions asked by the interviewer, but rather topics addressed by Dr. Madden during the course of his interview. We hope that this will be an informative and interesting way to view the conversation.

Video lengths in minutes are approximate.

Video Menu

1. Introduction, early life and early career in rural development [10 minutes]

2. Career switch to research on organic agriculture with Rodale and the Cornucopia Project [10 minutes]

3. Agricultural information, flow research and exploratory research [11 minutes]

4. Development of LISA, necessity of low-input farming and research needs [12 minutes]

5. Education, thoughts on Robert Rodale and predictions for the future [12 minutes]

Watch All Five Parts In Succession


1. What are barriers prohibiting researchers in universities from doing the work that society really needs? [2 minutes]

2. What is the importance of case studies and experiential research? [4 minutes]

3. What low-input myths is the LISA Program helping to dispel? [3 minute]

4. Tell us about your friendship with Robert Rodale. [4 minutes]

National Agricultural Library Cataloging Record:

Author: Madden, J. Patrick, Jane Potter Gates, National Agricultural Library (U.S.)
Title: Oral history interview with James Patrick Madden [videorecording]
Publisher: Produced by National Agricultural Library; directed and recorded by Ronald B. Young ; producer, Jayne MacLean. Beltsville, Md.: The Library, [1990]
Series: AFSIC oral history interview series
Subjects: Madden, J. Patrick.; Sustainable agriculture.; Organic farming.
Description: Original format: 1 videocassette (55 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
Note(s): VHS. Title from cassette label. "12/90."
Abstract: Presents an interview with James P. Madden in which he discusses his background, his ideas on organic farming and his low-input sustainable agriculture project for USDA.
NAL Call Number: Videocassette no. 1009

The National Agricultural Library does not verify the accuracy of the accounts described herein by participants in an Oral History Project. These oral histories are expressions of the views, memories and opinions of the interviewee. They do not represent the policy, views or official history of the United States Department of Agriculture or the National Agricultural Library.