Is the organic food movement a progressive political force or a conservative one? These questions underpin the articles in the Winter 2012 issue of Mother Earth. Silent Shadows reflects upon the impact of Silent Spring, and lays claim to the environmentalism it birthed as a political movement at home in the radicalism of the sixties. Meanwhile, in Politics or Philosophy, Roger Scruton's new book that describes 'organicists' as essentially conservative. Peter Melchett examines how pro-GM lobbyists have – falsely – claimed the progressive high-ground, while for Michael POllan, the US food movement is very squarely a challenge to the dominant cultural model of big business. "Toil of the tilth" brings the whole debate back to the fields, as Graeme Matravers explains the benefits of farming organically.