In the 1960's there was a major movement for "back to the landers", or affectionately nicknamed "granolas" to the Northeast. Carrying new issues of Mother Earth News, brochures on Yurts (canvass covered goat hair wrapping for exterior of their new house) a couple with often a row of little ones in similiar coveralls and Mr Green Jeans clothing would seek a piece of land to farmstead or homestead on. Many locals would stratch their heads but had to admit these folks were friendly, a little naive but on the right track to eat right, live right and who were not afraid of working the land to create a living, shelter and food for their families.
Heating with wood, and not wanting to be on the grid to protect the neighborhood from too many new neighbors, these folks started food co-ops, grew organic produce, and lived a simple, humble lifestyle heating with wood. Not wanting to set the world on fire, they escaped urban areas or rural areas on the fridge of exploding with building to trek north. Strout Realty was a company started by a Maine man E.A. Strout who had a notion back in 1900 that folks lived in the cities, and flocked there for jobs when farming was not panning out, but in the back of their heads...many wanted to come back and give it another try once better bank rolled. He was right..all the Strout offices around the country peddled rural property...you would not see a Strout office in downtown LA...but in Maine alone there were 25 offices. Run by average, honest salt of the earth folks that helped sell the rural way of life "All Across America". In the 1950's there were 2000 Strout offices...the hoola hoop was big, drive in theatres the rage, Elvis excited or angers many. This was before the plethora of franchises like Century 21, Coldwell Banker, etc.
There is a strong sense of having your own 40 acres to be self sufficient. This longing is based on a number of factors. Back in the 1800's 96% of us were farmers! Small farms were the back bone of the country...feeding the nation, teaching work ethic and how to make things last because there was never much money floating around to just run out and replace it. Kick the can and heading to the lake after chores was enough to entertain and create contentment. Heck, you were happy to just be done working for the day. Early to bed as up with the crows to milk the cows, start the chores again. You saw your family thru out the day other than being at school because everyone had a role working on the farm so you could make a living to stay on the farm that may have been in your family for three generations or more. The farming lifestyle is in our genes from not so long ago. Now larger farms with monstrous equipment and automation have taken over due to smaller profits and need for agri-businessman to keep the operation in the black. Foreign imports of food...new eating habits with fast food and quick prepare meals coming into vogue. Years ago on the farm life was simpler because no money to make it anything different. You had to fix what broke or learned to go without what you could not afford. There was no extra money. Some would say we were poor but did not know it. We were all the same. Well fed, mom knitted mittens and canned, dad and the boys chopped and stacked wood. You had what you needed...a filled belly, warm place to sleep, warm homemade clothes and lots of love from knowing you were a vital part of the family...you were needed, you had a role no matter what your age. No one was spoiled...there was not extra money to lavish with...and with 11, 12 or 15 family members...no one got too much of anything...it was spread around to all the children under the roof.
Some of the granolas had the right idea but the life was too hard and they had been spoiled with earlier glimpses and knowlege of an alternative life with power, luxuries and machines to do some of the labor for us. These folks washed out. Some made it work if they were determined and hardworking enough. And some granolas became yuppies...growing organic produce and not trying to sell it at the local farmer's market alone. Heck no...with the internet..you can now have a nifty web site to promote the produce or product that is home grown and you sell a serving for eight...not a 50 pound bag of potatoes. You can ship them with the UPS brown truck cruising in daily to intercept the package rather than loading a trailer truck or like back in the 40's, 50's and early 60's growing a train car load of produce destined for the markets. Someone in Manhattan is having dinner guests this Friday night and for $48.50 they can have shipped to them baby Maine carrots and red pontiac potatoes for their four guests. Money is not an object..the time frame of "can we have it by Friday"..a few days away is the only concern.
Consider the simpler, healthy lifestyle...are you ready for a change? www.motherearthnews.com