Choosing a New Life on the Farm

A couple start a new life on the farm in Missouri to begin their transition towards sustainable living.

| October/November 2002

Chart: Calculating home living costs on the farm.

Chart: Calculating home living costs on the farm.


A couple discovers choosing a new life on the farm changes their lives for the better.

The hardest part is knowing what you want. "I know it sounds strange," Alice Dobbs says, "but it's true." She's sitting on a bench, the unusually warm autumn sun at her back. Her statements are quick and pointed: She doesn't gush.

But as she makes this simple statement, you can feel the truth. How hard was it for Alice and her husband to give up their urbane lives to move to a culturally isolated, rural area? Easy as pie. How difficult was it for them to break away from chemically dependent conventional agriculture to attempt a better, more natural and profitable strategy? A walk in the park. Design, build and operate a livestock operation and off=grid home and derive most of their income, security and shelter from it? No problema.

The hardest part, according to Alice, is finding the courage to ask yourself what you really want, not what others want. Not what society or tradition or Marge at the Piggly Wiggly thinks you should want. Not what special interests or advocates or activists expect you to want. Once you know what you want, everything else falls into place.

Choosing a New Life on the Farm

Alice Dobbs and David Schafer lived in Denver. It was pretty much your standard-issue 1970s American life. They were both working for Trans Globe Tours, a natural choice considering their backgrounds. Alice had spent most of her childhood in South America. David had attended high school in the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

It was a good life.

mother earth news fair


Feb. 17-18, 2018
Belton, Texas

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, hands-on workshops, and great food!