The Back-To-The-Land Movement and the Search for a Sustainable Future
Author: Jeffrey Jacob
Publisher: Penn State Press
Category: Social Science
&"[P]ractically everyone I know is nursing fantasies about escaping the life they're trapped in and creating one that makes more sense,&" writes the editor of Utne Reader in a recent issue. &"The people I most admire, though, are those who actually do it&—who break free and pursue a higher calling no matter how great the risk.&" New Pioneers is about one such group of people&—the hundreds of thousands of urban North Americans who over the past three decades have given up their city or suburban homes for a few acres of land in the countryside. Jeffrey Jacob's new pioneers are ordinary people who have tried to break away from the mainstream consumer culture and return to small-town and rural America. He traces the development of the movement and identifies seven different kinds of back-to-the-lander: the weekender, country romantic, purist, country entrepreneur, pensioner, micro-farmer, and apprentice. From over 1,300 survey responses, interviews, and in-depth case studies, at both the regional and national levels, of representative back-to-the-landers, Jacob analyzes their values, use of appropriate technology, family division of labor on their acreages, and predisposition toward environmental activism. Jacob finds that back-to-the-landers for the most part are not completely independent of the mainstream economy, and consequently, their lives do reflect the contradictions between the available conveniences of a high-technology culture and the movement's goals of self-reliant labor. He analyzes their ambivalent attitudes toward technology&—hoes and shovels versus mini-hydroelectric systems, wood stoves versus microwave ovens, and so on. After examining the experiences of the back-to-the-country people who live on the margins of a postindustrial society, Jacob creates a clearer appreciation of the preconditions necessary to translate the idea of sustainable living into concrete action on a society-wide scale. While New Pioneers describes an important social movement, it also shows how far a group of highly motivated individuals and families can go, by themselves, in breaking away from the prevailing consumer culture. The dilemmas, frustrations, adaptations, and triumphs of these neo-homesteaders offer valuable insights to anyone contemplating a move &"back to the land.&"
The Enduring Dream of Self-Sufficiency in Modern America
Author: Dona Brown
Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Press
For many, “going back to the land” brings to mind the 1960s and 1970s—hippie communes and the Summer of Love, The Whole Earth Catalog and Mother Earth News. More recently, the movement has reemerged in a new enthusiasm for locally produced food and more sustainable energy paths. But these latest back-to-the-landers are part of a much larger story. Americans have been dreaming of returning to the land ever since they started to leave it. In Back to the Land, Dona Brown explores the history of this recurring impulse. ? Back-to-the-landers have often been viewed as nostalgic escapists or romantic nature-lovers. But their own words reveal a more complex story. In such projects as Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman Farms, Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Broadacre City,” and Helen and Scott Nearing’s quest for “the good life,” Brown finds that the return to the farm has meant less a going-backwards than a going-forwards, a way to meet the challenges of the modern era. Progressive reformers pushed for homesteading to help impoverished workers get out of unhealthy urban slums. Depression-era back-to-the-landers, wary of the centralizing power of the New Deal, embraced a new “third way” politics of decentralism and regionalism. Later still, the movement merged with environmentalism. To understand Americans’ response to these back-to-the-land ideas, Brown turns to the fan letters of ordinary readers—retired teachers and overworked clerks, recent immigrants and single women. In seeking their rural roots, Brown argues, Americans have striven above all for the independence and self-sufficiency they associate with the agrarian ideal. Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians
Author: Jan Marsh
Publisher: Faber & Faber
In this most interesting book Jan Marsh examines the paradox underlying the transformation of England from an economy based on agriculture to one based on industry. By 1880 that had happened irreversibly and yet while the rural population was rapidly declining, the back-to-the land movement began to pervade all areas of life and thought. Jan Marsh chronicles the many manifestations of the pastoral impulse. From simple nostalgia to sophisticated political thought she looks at agrarian communes, the folk-song movement, peasant arts, garden cities, the reclamation of common lands, schools, dress and diet, and at the life and thought of such key figures as John Ruskin, William Morris and Edward Carpenter. The book is divided into four parts: The Cult of the Countryside, Tilling the Earth, Rustic Arts and Crafts, Pioneers of the New Life. 'I read it with delight. It is beautifully done - the research, the argument and above all the clarity of the writing.' Adam Nicholson 'An eminently readable survey of the pastoral aspect of the aesthetic movement dominated by Ruskin, Morris and Carpenter around the turn of the century'. Deborah Singmaster, "Times Literary Supplement" "" 'A synoptic study which includes dress reform, the folk-song and folk-dance movement, the impulse to safeguard commons, footpaths and ancient monuments, the revolution ins gardening, progressive schools like Abottsholme and Bedales... when we dine out in Fulham and sit round a scrubbed deal table with a string of onions hanging over earthenware crocks, we are paying tribute to the potency of the ideologies this book entertainingly chronicles.' Colin Ward, "New Society"
Arthurdale, FDR's New Deal, and the Costs of Economic Planning
Author: C. J Maloney
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Category: Business & Economics
How New Deal economic policies played out in the small town of Arthurdale, West Virginia Today, the U.S. government is again moving to embrace New Deal-like economic policies. While much has been written about the New Deal from a macro perspective, little has been written about how New Deal programs played out on the ground. In Back to the Land, author CJ Maloney tells the true story of Arthurdale, West Virginia, a town created as a "pet project" of the Roosevelts. Designed to be (in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt) "a human experiment station", she was to create a "New American" citizen who would embrace a collectivist form of life. This book tells the story of what happened to the people resettled in Arthurdale and how the policies implemented there shaped America as we know it. Arthurdale was the foundation upon which modern America was built. Details economic history at the micro level, revealing the true effects of New Deal economic policies on everyday life Addresses the pros and cons of federal government economic policies Describes how good intentions and grand ideas can result in disastrous consequences, not only in purely materialistic terms but, most important, in respect for the rule of law Back to the Land is a valuable addition to economic and historical literature.
A Back-to-the-Land Movement Story
Author: Oakes Plimpton
Category: Biography & Autobiography
1972 Farm Journal is a transcription of a journal the writer kept that summer living on a communal organic farm in central New York State. Every day's entry is about the ins and outs of the farming venture -- machinery operation and break down, success and failure in planting vegetables and marketing them, relations between the people, particularly relations between the sexes, relations with the local people who came with beer to offer advice, and to see what's up! Added is the other partners memories and present situations. We had a 36th year reunion in 2008, for one of the communal partners still owns the farm. Photographs then and now.
Author: Do Shaw
Publisher: Oberon Books Limited
It's the 1940s and across the country women are leaving their homes, shops, offices, and factories to take up a new role in the Women's Land Army. As they learn new skills in a strange environment, women from all walks of life are thrown together and forced to forge a sense of community while contributing to the war effort. Back to the Land takes a warm-hearted look at the lives and loves of a group of Land Girls making the best of life in a hostel in the North East of England. With a cast of over twenty characters, and based on the recollections of former Land Girls, this lively and touching play is punctuated with the songs of WWII.
My Lesbian Back-to-the-Land Life
Author: Dianna Hunter
Publisher: U of Minnesota Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
A wry memoir of growing up, coming out, and going back to the land as a lesbian feminist in the rural Midwest of the 1960s and 70s Dianna Hunter was a softball-loving, working-class tomboy in North Dakota, surviving the threat of the Cuban Missile Crisis and Mutually Assured Destruction in the shadow of a strategic air command base. Communists and antiwar hippies were the enemy, but lesbians were a threat, too: they were unhealthy, criminal, and downright insane. It took Dianna a while to figure out that she was one, a little longer to discover how she fit in with her new communities in the city and the countryside. This is her story—a frank account by turns comic and painful of a well-behaved Midwestern girl finding her way through polite denial and repression and running head-on into the eye-opening events of the 1960s and ’70s before landing on a dairy farm. A bumpy route takes Dianna to the Twin Cities, then to rural Minnesota and Wisconsin as—by way of the antiwar movement, women’s liberation, and a dose of lesbian feminism—she and her friends try to establish a rural utopia free of sexual oppression, violence, materialism, environmental degradation—and men. They dream big, love as they see fit, and make do until they don’t. Dianna buys a dairy farm and, with it, a new set of problems thanks to the Reagan-era farm crisis. A firsthand account of the lesbian feminist movement at its inception, Wild Mares is a deeply personal, wryly wise, and always engaging view of identity politics lived and learned in real life and, literally, on the ground, flourishing in the fertile soil of a struggling dairy farm in the American heartland.
Author: Kenneth Lundstrom
Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing
Return to the Land of My Fathers is an inspiring novel that takes readers from pre-World War II Finland to modern day America. Ilmari grew up as a fisherman at a lake in Karelia, in Eastern Finland and bordering Russia. There he had a happy life with his growing family until World War II changed everything. His family was forcefully evacuated with 422,000 other Karelians. Ilmari's son, Aleksi, was taken as a prisoner of war and spent several hard years at a labor camp in Siberia, before serving the Soviet intelligence, and then becoming a gold medal candidate in shooting at the Olympic Games in Helsinki. Aleksi's goal was to defect during the Olympics, which resulted in incredible adventures throughout Finland, including meeting his future wife. Ilmari started a new career as a painter. Through his art, he expressed the longing for the Land of His Fathers, his beloved Karelia. He became a renowned artist, later finding inspiration also in the beautiful seashore landscape on Long Island. Aleksi became a literature professor and he reflects on the evacuation process from Karelia, comparing it to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.At the age of ninety-five, Ilmari has the possibility to return to the Land of His Fathers with his grown-up children and grandchildren. He reflects on the Return to the Land of My Fathers. Was it an illusion or for real? Author Bio: Kenneth Lundstrom is a molecular biologist working in the area of cancer therapy. Originally from Helsinki, Finland, he now resides near Lausanne, Switzerland. He has previously published Taxi Trips to Remember or Forget, a travel memoir, and is now writing his next book. http: //sbpra.com/KennethLundstro
Back to the Land in the 1970s on the Quest for a New America
Author: Kate Daloz
Publisher: Hachette UK
Between 1970 and 1974 ten million Americans abandoned the city, and the commercialism, and all the inauthentic bourgeois comforts of the Eisenhower-era America of their parents. Instead, they went back to the land. It was the only time in modern history that urbanization has gone into reverse. Kate Daloz follows the dreams and ideals of a small group of back-to-the-landers to tell the story of a nationwide movement and moment. And she shows how the faltering, hopeful, but impractical impulses of that first generation sowed the seeds for the organic farming movement and the transformation of American agriculture and food tastes. In the Myrtle Hill commune and neighboring Entropy Acres, high-minded ideas of communal living and shared decision-making crash headlong into the realities of brutal Northern weather and the colossal inconvenience of having no plumbing or electricity. Nature, it turns out, is not always a generous or provident host—frosts are hard, snowfalls smother roads, and small wood fires do not heat imperfectly insulated geodesic domes. Group living turns out to be harder than expected too. Being free to do what you want and set your own rules leads to some unexpected limitations: once the group starts growing a little marijuana they can no longer call on the protection of the law, especially against a rogue member of a nearby community. For some of the group, the lifestyle is truly a saving grace; they credit it with their survival. For others, it is a prison sentence. We Are As Gods (the first line of the Whole Earth Catalog, the movement's bible) is a poignant rediscovery of a seminal moment in American culture, whose influence far outlasted the communities that took to the hills and woods in the late '60s and '70s and remains present in every farmer's market, every store selling Stonyfield products, or Keen shoes, or Patagonia sportswear.