Charles Walters RIP –and Olree reviewed

I just received word of the passing of Charles Walters, Editor Emeritus of Acres USA, from kidney failure. I had just finished his Minerals for the Genetic Code, and had been considering doing a review. This appreciation will become that review, even though it is considered bad form to speak ill of the dead. But it’s possible to acknowledge Walters’ importance while still pointing out real problems in his work.

For one thing, Walters couldn’t write as well as some people claim. His style managed to be both baroque and folksy at the same time, filled with words like “bespeaks” , and contrived and anthropomorphic verbs. Occasionally one will find non-sentences that appear to be transcriptions from notes, as this one from Minerals... ” Calcium functions in the body, solidity of the body, essential to fetal growth during pregnancy, found in cartilage, fluids and tissue and body alkalinity.” He would often assume knowledge of a reader that one could not reasonably expect, including undefined acronyms. And he had a positive aversion to citation. Minerals doesn’t even have a bibliography, let alone footnotes, and when these are absent from bold claims of governmental or agribusiness malfeasance, it makes Walters sound like a crank.

This connects to my other major complaint about Walters: his advocacy of neo-mercantilist agriculture policy. I’ve been a regular reader of Acres for about 4 years now, and I’ve still not figured out exactly what he thought should be done. He supported agricultural tariffs and parity adjustment,opposed free trade, and apparently thought there was a role for positive government intervention. But he recognized negative government interventions (though not the largest: fiat money manipulation). How could government, owned by whom it is owned by, ever be relied on to fix the problem? At the same time, his advocacy of consumption of locally produced food was a call to action for those of us (perhaps most of his readership) who think that the only ag policy the US should have is the aggregate of consumers’ food preferences.

All that aside, Acres has been and is an essential resource of eco-agriculture and food politics, which would not exist without Walters. Nor would the work of William Albrecht be as well known, and the work of those following in Albrecht’s footsteps would not exist. His shoes will be hard to fill at Acres, especially considering how much of the journal was still written by him. He was a leader. I regret that I never got to meet the man; I’ve always wanted to go to the annual Acres USA conference, but coming at the end of the semester and at the Christmas build-up, it’s never been convenient for me to do so.

Now on to Minerals:

This is “An exposition and analysis of the Dr. Olree standard genetic periodic chart & the physical, chemical & biological connection”. Dr. Richard Olree is a chiropractor who has been working on a kind of unified theory of natural health involving trace minerals and subatomic particles, DNA, chiropractic, acupuncture meridians and the I Ching. The basic concept is this: certain minerals are required by certain genes, but are replaceable by certain other minerals, with ill effect. When minerals balances are off, health degrades as the body uses the wrong mineral. Some minerals are necessary for the uptake of others.  Some minerals can help protect against radiation and other mutagens.

The first part of the book rambles a bit, with information on fluoridation and GMOs, which are connected to but not a part of what Olree is doing. Some of this material is a history of Olree’s predecessors and influences. The 2nd part examines each of the 64 positions in detail. For some, there is little information. Others are more extensive. The I Ching connection is really not explored, possibly because Walters does not understand it. For example, selenium is #50 (Ting ; the Cauldron. “Fire burns over wood. The superior man tends the fire and secures the success of the offering.”) Selenium is an anti-inflammatory, and is essential in sugar metabolism, so it might “tend the fire” in that sense. But Walters doesn’t discuss it at all.

The 3rd part (and 1/3 the book) is the most useful. It is a guide to sourcing trace elements from herbs and foods, with biological and common names, part used, and parts per million of the element. If government has its way, we won’t be abe to buy supplements, and this may help us with mineral balance.

I’m still on the fence about most of Olree, but I think he’s on to something (though he may be mixing it with things with no rational scientific connection), and I wish he would write a book himself, with footnotes.  I’ll be poking into this periodically, to see what else I can glean.

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8 Responses to Charles Walters RIP –and Olree reviewed

  1. Augie says:

    I had read some of Minerals and it reminded me of one Ernst Martin. Martin made significant contributions in biblical research, the climax came 15 years before his death. He had with great diligence showed the date of Jesus’ birth as being a specific date near mid-September, others took his work and further expanded with remarkable specifics and to the time of day.

    But, as with many greats, once you reach peak, there is a fall. Martin went on for years to prove the very day of His return. In fact, I heard a mention of 2012 on the radio today even. Martin diedvery frustrated, a short 3 months after his calculated September day, proven by 400 stellar stobservatories, became the infamous 911 call.

    I am reminded to resubscribe to a great mag, Acres USA and I am sure Charlie is resting in peace and will meet Martin at the appointed time. They were both great men that shook our world.

  2. Norman says:

    I happen to have read the book and have listened to the teachings of Dr Olree and i feel your criticism should be kept to yourself. I don’t know who you are but your thoughts and ideas are obviously negative if you want to nit pick at the little things about your teachers. The begining of the book “Minerals for the Genetic Code” has its little rants about “information on fluoridation and GMOs, which are connected to but not a part of what Olree is doing” is an incorrect statement. Florine is a MINERAL that they are putting into our drinking water, tooth paste ect. that is poisioning us. He cant tell 1000’s of people with his mouth alone. If he did, would they listen, the ones who read the book most likely listened since they are curious for knowledge, the reason they are reading the book. Then it goes onto GMO which stands for GENETIC modification. Going back to the title of the book MINERALS for the GENETIC code which proves my point of Dr. Olree not being off topic. You claim that it is “not what he is doing” when in fact he is a doctor, and “what he is doing” is making sure people stay healthy.
    You are criticizing a dead man who wrote this book when he was nearly blind and undergoing kidney dialysis. Its not like the guy could READ what he wrote. I met chuck and went to his ACRES convention 2 years ago in St Louis. I had dinner with the man. All he seemed to want is the world to be rid of all its push for power and money for a few men at the expense of the rest of the world.
    There are 2 versions of the book out, many mistakes were corrected in the second version. The 3rd section in the book has if each plant is poisonous or if its edible added to its information. if you don’t have that you should probably buy that and see the changes they made before you criticize.
    I hear doctor Olree might be putting a book out with his own name on it and a few more being wrote. That could have just been a rumor though. If you hear anything about it, let me know because i am quite curious.

    • joe says:

      He died of kidney complications… sounds like he should have been able to fix this problem by reading the book. I feel sorry for people who blindly follow “teachers”. The proof is in the pudding,

  3. jeffreyquick says:

    Norman,
    If we all kept our criticism to ourselves, there would be no blogosphere, and I wouldn’t be responding to your comment, because you wouldn’t have written it. But I’m glad you did, because it provides more information for my readers (all both of them). I thought I had made it clear that this was an important book, even though it was not the book it could have been. Walters did a better job of integrating the fluoridation issue into Olree in some of his late Acres articles.

    Re Walters: my criticism of Walters’ style applies to his earlier work as well, so his health had nothing to do with that. As for this specific work, if Walters wasn’t physically able to edit the book, he should have hired an editor. That he did not seems indicative of an ego problem. I’m glad to hear that there’s an improved 2nd edition, but the book hasn’t been out all that long, and I own one already. Why should I pay twice for something that should have been done right the first time?

    I’d like to read some unfiltered Olree. As a recovering occultist, I’m particularly interested in his I Ching correlations. I would hope that if he does publish something new, that the Acres bookstore would carry it.

  4. A Excellent write up, I will be sure to save this post in my Propeller account. Have a good evening.

  5. Sammy Charles says:

    First I would like to thank you for your review. I found it specific and clear. Second I would like to say that I don’t believe anything you said took away from Acres USA (which is a unique and valuable eductional resource group) or Charlie Waters even though you criticize him. Third I especially appreciate the comments (thank you for not deleting) from Daniel who seemed to have taken your comments personally.

    OK now my thoughts: I have followed Acres USA since the mid 1990s’ and have been introduced to so many fascinating and interesting perspectives and ideals. One of the most valuable is the Albrecht/Reams theories; not the same (unless you read Michael Astera) but very similar basis. Ream’s Crowd tends to be a bit overzealous with their religious overtones (except for Arden Anderson) but his approach is brilliant, especially when you understand by growing high brix/density food you never have to worry about insect damage. Now that alone would destroy many University Ag Departments by wiping out all the energy they spend on studying pests and pest control, it is really astounding.

    Then imagine growing found that makes people healthy just by eating?? OK so I have just found this info of Dr. Olree and I plan to read him and study it.

    Thanks for your comments (now I’m your third reader) and especially for responding to your critics.

    Oh and I would like to comment on the Acres group: they do not always embrace many different Ag approaches outside of their main interest but they are receptive to many contrarian idealogies. Furthermore I have never quite understood Chucks rants from the Acres magazines even though I tended to read many of them. However that doesn’t take away from the books he did wright and bring the information out to the public, even if he wasn’t the best writer.

    Have a nice day.

    Sammy

  6. jeffreyquick says:

    As a time-deficient hobby farmer with low-lying clay soil, Albrecht/Reams is like sainthood: a path to follow and a goal to aspire to, but a state I am very far from. There’s more high “breaks” than high brix here, unfortunately, especially this past summer when I should have grown rice or fish.

    Thanks for your input, Sammy.

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