An Alternative Living Education

For visitors and staffers alike, MOTHER EARTH NEWS' 1980 seminars offered a chance to engage directly with alternative living methods and practices.

| November/December 1980

066 mother earth news seminars - rammed earth solar greenhouse

Many hands make light work, especially when the alternative living project is a rammed earth solar greenhouse.


It was a busy, full-to-the-brim summer for MOTHER EARTH NEWS' staff, as some 2,200 eager students, family members, and friends converged on our Eco-Village during July and August.

After the record-breaking (both in number of attendees and, for the second year in a row, in amount of rain) June seminar series, we could only hope for an equally good turnout for our Mother Earth Weeks Two and Three ... and we weren't disappointed! A fine bunch of folks showed up — from all corners of the United States and from places as far away as New Guinea and Nigeria — to visit MOTHER EARTH NEWS' beautiful square mile of mountain property and learn a whole passel of back-to-the-land alternative living skills.

And, as pleased as we were with our guests, they seemed just as satisfied with their experiences throughout the six days of classroom discussions, hands-on demonstrations, and down-home entertainment. (As a Rhode Islander noted with pleasure, "I feel I've gained much more knowledge than I had anticipated — or even thought possible — from a one-day seminar.")

We also had our share of especially dedicated seminar-goers. One woman — who visited us from her home in Columbus, Ohio during each of the first three seminar weeks — reported that the classes she attended were "very, very informative and well worth my money." Another reader from Sweden — who was not able to attend in person — sent his daughter across the Atlantic to "take notes" for him. By the time she'd finished the final week of seminars in September, the well-informed young lady had taken just about every one of the 22 classes that MOTHER EARTH NEWS offered!

Serious Study

Besides their time spent in the classroom (learning about everything from herbal medicine to methane generators), the 1980 participants had numerous opportunities to "get their feet wet" and try out some of their newly acquired skills. July and August seminar attendees continued the construction work we began earlier this summer on a solar rammed earth structure and a cordwood castle, and tended the produce in MOTHER EARTH NEWS' French intensive gardens.

A lot of folks also stopped by the new steam-powered sawmill, took a close-up look at our experimental high-mileage vehicles, and checked out the bumper crop of vegetables growing in our hydroponic setup (which is now housed in a stackwood dome greenhouse). All of these doin's were captured on film by MOTHER EARTH NEWS' own video team and by a crew from P. M. Magazine, the nationally syndicated television news program that has recently featured MOTHER EARTH NEWS in several of its segments.

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

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