Why MOTHER EARTH NEWS Magazine Was Founded

As explained by its founder in this essay, MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine had its genesis in the values of self-sufficiency and community spirit that prevailed when he was growing up on his parents' small Indiana farm in the 1930s and 40s.


| November/December 1979



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John Shuttleworth as a boy, long before MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine was even a glimmer of an idea.


PHOTO: ESTHER SHUTTLEWORTH

"How did you ever get the idea for MOTHER EARTH NEWS?"

If I've heard that question once during the past ten years, I've heard it ten thousand times. And my answer is always the same: "Given the way I was raised, it would have been far more surprising if I hadn't wound up devoting my life to something like it."

The Boy Is Father to the Man

I was born in a small north-central Indiana farming community on July 21, 1937. It was a very good place and time to be birthed if your destiny somehow involved the launching of a back-to-basics, you-can-take-charge-of-your-life, this-planet-is-all-we've-got magazine.

For one reason, not too many babies were being made back then in the closing days of the Great Depression. And so my age group has always been in far greater demand than have the floodtide of World War II children and the other burgeoning waves of humanity which have followed. More doors have been opened for us, each of us has tended to move up more quickly in his or her chosen field, and we have been generally more "successful" faster while retaining more of our individual identity than have those packed into the masses born later.

No one, in other words, has to give me any powerful arguments about the benefits of population control: I've lived those benefits firsthand. I know that we're all better off when there are fewer of us competing for the earth's finite resources.

Nor—thanks again to the Depression and the World War which followed—does anyone have to convince me of the wisdom of individual and family self-reliance and self-sufficiency. Others—those who were not self-reliant and self-sufficient—may recall the late 30's and early 40's as a time of bread lines, not enough to eat, ration coupons, and black markets.





dairy goat

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