How do you define the Back-to-the-Land Movement?


The back-to-the-land movement was a social movement based around the idea of living a self-sufficient life close to nature. It was characterized by the idea that everyday life is methodically practiced and based on a set of moral values or choices. For many people homesteading became a spiritual practice, giving meaning to daily life through adhering to values of simplicity and anti-consumerism.


Some of these choices include:

  • How to build a home
  • What type of energy to use
  • How to subsist-- this includes the decision whether to grow all of your food or to buy some, where to purchase what you need to buy
  • Livelihood-whether to work at home or to work in the outside world, how to reconcile the desire to abandon consumerism and still make a living

These parameters were self-imposed; members of the back-to-the-land movement were limiting themselves at a time when it became clear that contemporary American culture put few limits on consumerism. Back-to-the-landers chose to be at nature's mercy and to live with the inconveniences that this may entail. By using solar or wind power and other environmentally benign forms of energy, for example, they were trading convenience for a life that fit their moral values. The trade-offs were self-sufficiency, simplicity, freedom and others that cannot be enumerated.

  Back to Back-to-the Land Menu