“A back-to-the-land movement is any of various agrarian movements across different historical periods. The common thread is a call for people to take up smallholding and to grow food from the land with an emphasis on a greater degree of self-sufficiency, autonomy, and local community than found in a prevailing industrial or postindustrial way of life. There have been a variety of motives behind such movements, such as social reform, land reform, and civilian war efforts. Groups involved have included political reformers, counterculture hippies, and religious separatists. … In the USA between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s there was a revived back-to-the-land movement, with substantial numbers migrating from cities to rural areas. … The American social commentator and poet Gary Snyder has related that there have been back-to-the-land population movements throughout the centuries, and throughout the world, largely due to the occurrence of severe urban problems and people’s felt need to live a better life, often simply to survive. The historian and philosopher of urbanism Jane Jacobs remarked in an interview with Stewart Brand that with the Fall of Rome city dwellers re-inhabited the rural areas of the region. … In Canada, those who sought a life completely outside of the cities, suburbs, and towns frequently moved into semi-wilderness environs. But what made the later phenomenon of the 1960s and 1970s especially significant was that the rural-relocation trend was sizable enough that it was identified in the American demographic statistics. … Besides the [Helen and Scott] Nearings and other authors writing later along similar lines, another influence from the world of American publishing was the unprecedented, vigorous, and intelligent Whole Earth Catalogs. Stewart Brand and a circle of friends and family began the effort in 1968, because Brand believed that there was a groundswell of biologists, designers, engineers, sociologists, organic farmers, and social experimenters who wished to transform civilization along lines that might be called ‘sustainable‘. Brand and cohorts created a catalog of ‘tools’ – defined broadly to include useful books, design aids, maps, gardening implements, carpentry and masonry tools, metalworking equipment, and a great deal more. …”
There’s No Place Like Dome (Video)
Communes, Counterculture, and the Back to the Land Movement
Was the Back-to-the-Land “movement” a failure or a success?