Dear Mother: Mother’s Eco-Village Beginning

Read letters from longtime readers, learn about Mother’s history, and examples of readers going against the grain.

| December 2019 / January 2020

Mother’s Past

I remember Mother Earth News from the 1970s. I wish I would’ve kept every issue. I’d like to know more about its history, and where it’s printed now. Keep up the wonderful magazine, especially the articles focusing on DIY projects.

Theresa Reinhart
Alvada, Ohio

Photo by Tonya Olson

Theresa and other readers, we’re happy to give you some background on the anniversary of our 50th year in print. John and Jane Shuttleworth published the first issue of Mother Earth News in January 1970 in Ohio. They wanted to embrace the back-to-the-land movement and promote self-sufficiency while connecting with environmentalists around the country. From its birth, Mother had a strong do-it-yourself bent, advising readers about gardening techniques, as well as how to build structures, care for livestock, and install renewable energy on their properties.

After a few years, the Shuttleworths moved the magazine to a 600-acre property in the forested hills outside of Hendersonville, North Carolina. There, they opened a research facility they called the Eco-Village, with plenty of room for experiments in green living conducted by the staff (known as “researchers”). People came from all over the country to camp, visit, and innovate at the Eco-Village.

But more than a decade of producing a successful bimonthly magazine and operating the Eco-Village took its toll on the Shuttleworths. The magazine was sold and the Eco-Village disbanded. Print operations eventually moved to New York City, not exactly a bastion of off-grid living in the 1980s and ’90s. But Mother always found an audience.



February 15-16, 2020
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Join us in the Lone Star state to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.


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Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

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