In the early 1970s, an undocumented number of American citizens propelled themselves out of the powerful currents of the mainstream and submerged themselves instead into life as homesteaders in Maine.
These self-determined homesteaders left behind the social-registers and cubicles of their parents in favor of feminist a capella groups, a pre-school made out of a chicken coop, and acres of corn, blueberries, and tomatoes. Some made money by selling their produce to locals, eventually forming the states’ first co-ops and farmers’ markets.
These homesteaders were part of a nation-wide back-to-the-land movement. Back-to-the-land Movements, throughout history, have traditionally occurred in response to political or social upheaval.What political or social conditions motivated the back-to-the-landers of the 1970s to cultivate their own homesteads and farms in Maine?
Some were shot at or teargassed by the government while protesting for the Civil Rights Movement. A few were disturbed by the American disregard for the environment, made visible in the 1960s after Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring.” Several lost faith in the American political system after the exposure of Nixon’s unethical behavior in Watergate in 1972. For others, the move back-to-the-land was more unplanned. Many visited homesteading friends in Maine — friends who likely began homesteading as a reaction to the political and social turmoil — and decided the lifestyle seemed interesting and fun.
However, they all had one thing in common: they saw an alternative to the existing, 1950s narrative of the American Dream and then cleaved to their vision of creating a viable alternative lifestyle.
This website documents their stories.