Back To The Land

The Back to the land movement and the Homesteading Act of foregone has close ties with the Off-Grid Lifestyle as we know it today.

The Back to the land movement had momentum during different historical eras.

What is The back to the land movement?

The common principle of the movement is to encourage people to become self-sufficient by producing food from small scale agricultural activities.

 Motives of the movement:

Different motives behind the movement can be identified, of which the social and economic impact of trying times stand out.

During World War Two, a campaign was launched to motivate British civilians to grow vegetables on all available land patches.

Other drivers that could be identified as contributing to the movement were political reform, cult groups like the hippies, religious separatist groupings, social reform and land redistribution campaigns.

A strong focus of the movement was on agricultural activities on smallholdings, but it also included Urban Agricultural activities.

The activist Bolton Hall advocated vacant lot husbandry in New York City during the beginning of the 20th century.

The wars:

Two different wars on foreign soil, contributed to the movement in North America.

Though both these wars impacted on the life of American civilians, it had different reasons for contributing to the back to the land movement.

– World War ll:

After World War II, many returning war soldiers exploited the option of settling outside of the cities in rural areas. They tried to establish themselves back into a meaningful lifestyle, out of the cities, by being self-sufficient from the land.

– Vietnam War:

The USA was involved in the Vietnam war from March 8, 1965 until August 15, 1973.   (The war itself was a 20 year long war from 1955 until 1975)

Many young Americans tried to make sense of life at the time. It is also the period of the free spirit youth called the hippies, yearning for freedom. They were known as the “peace” cult and it is undeniable that the Vietnam War influenced the behavior of this generation.

Many tried to find their peace and their freedom by roaming into rural areas. Some turned to settling on patches of land individually or in communes and tried to exist from the land.

The phenomenon of the Back to the land movement even became size significant during the sixties and seventies as it was identifiable in the demographic statistics of America.

Though there may be an overlap in the periods of moving back to the land that stem from these two wars, it is interesting to note that two different wars have resulted in totally different reasons for people to turn back to the land as their means of living.

Many very interesting books were published on the topic of rural-relocation. These books also cover different experiences of people throughout the different time periods of the movement.

Though the idea of being self-sufficient and living off the land has a specific attraction to many, it also brought a hardship of its own.

In Closure:

Those who had experience of rural living, combined with skills in this regard, were more likely to succeed than those who only followed their heart without enough knowledge.

For some it was a saving grace, for others it was like a prison without doors.

Recommended reading:

Kate Daloz wrote an extremely well researched book  on the Back-to-the-land-movement of the 70’s. The title of the book is: We are as Gods.

If the Rural / Off grid basics / Homesteading / Back to the land lifestyle interest you at all, try to get your hand at a copy of this book.