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"
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
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.
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.&"
Ceramics from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands 1970-1985
Author: Diane Carr
Publisher: Art Gallery of Greater Vicoria
The thirty-one ceramic artists presented here were among the principal teachers in the region at this time, and many worked from influence and training in three dominant artistic styles: European modernism and the Bauhaus, the Leach/Hamada tradition, and abstract expressionism.
Achieving genuine self-sufficiency of the kind described in John Seymour's classic guide is sadly beyond the vast reach of the urban majority today. Few have the space, yet fewer will be prepared for the holiday-free life-time commitment it needs. For those few there are comprehensive guidebooks, but where do the rest of us - concerned citizens, keen to explore alternative ways of living but lacking the land - look for guidance? Ever wondered how much effort it really takes to grow your own food? Is beekeeping difficult? Can you keep chickens in your garden and would you ever be able to go on holiday again? Is solar power really worth the bother? From a small terraced house in the middle of a big city, Paul Waddington has made it his business to find out, and while trying it himself, has created a practical and absorbing guidebook along the way. It includes easy-to-read lists, tables, personal anecdote, and stunning illustrations, and more importantly demystifies the subject with practical tips that get to the heart of the matter to show you how you can enjoy the fulfilling aspects of the smallholding life without the hassle and expense of 'going all the way'. If you want to go back to the land without leaving home, this is the perfect guide.
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.