MOTHER's Celebration of Eco-Friendly, Back-to-the-Land People

MOTHER EARTH NEWS showcases eco-friendly, back-to-the-land people who have made a difference in the world.

| September/October 1982

  • 77-166-i1
    Mr. Orange (far right in the photo) guided his students in the construction of their school's flourishing greenhouse . . . and encouraged them to take part in the organization of neighborhood tree plantings.

  • 77-166-i1

In celebration of little-known eco-friendly, back-to-the-land MOTHER-type folks from all over. 


Orchards in the Big Apple? Well, that notion doesn't sound so farfetched to folks who've been fortunate enough to meet Mr. Herb Orange. You see, from 1975 to 1978 Herb had the distinction of being the only agriculture teacher in Brooklyn, New York . . . and as such, the Edward R. Murrow High School instructor created a program that gave many inner-city youths their first exposure to horticulture.

Mr. Orange guided his students in the construction of their school's flourishing greenhouse . . . and encouraged them to take part in the organization of neighborhood tree plantings. In addition, the teenagers gained hands-on experience as they assisted workers from the National Park Service and the New York City Parks and Recreation Department in the maintenance and restoration of public grounds. As a native New Yorker, Herb has long been convinced that gardens could replace a large portion of the city's estimated 24,000 acres of vacant land . . . and his courses have already helped fill the ranks of community associations that undertake such tasks as transforming brick-and-rubble-strewn lots into productive vegetable plots.

In 1978 Herb bid farewell to the Empire State, since he'd been chosen to head the Clark College horticulture department in Vancouver, Washington. But he left behind a good many enlightened students . . . and an agriculture program that promises to continue showing the way to young urbanites of the future. — Eric Freedman.


Three years ago Richard Thomas returned to Canada from Finland with a wealth of knowledge about the Scandinavian peat industry. And, upon arriving home in Kearney, Ontario, the farmer went to work to drain his own peat bog, using the techniques he'd learned from the Finns. But the Old World process called for a year's wait, after the draining was done, before the substance could be harvested, and Richard was impatient. So, on an impulse, he set about mining the peat long before it had had time to cure properly . . . and was rewarded with countless globs of gray muck. The Canadian wasn't discouraged, however. He had a knack for improvising and promptly put it to use: Richard hung the fuel-to-be in a suspended net. Before long the material had dried and was heating both the Thomas farmstead and the Kearney Credit Union.

The experimenter's success with peat heat encouraged him to set up a small distillery, in order to turn some of his farm's crops into alcohol fuel . . . which Richard used to tool around town in his Volvo, demonstrating to local farmers that they too could grow their own power. Although Thomas found himself in court when his still was seized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, he emerged a winner of both his own battle and that which had long been fought by his fellow liquid-energy brewers . . . since the Canadian government was moved to reevaluate its legislation concerning the private production of alcohol fuel! — Helen Mason.

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, 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).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters