The Christian Homesteading Movement

Learn about the back-to-the-land movement allowing these Christians to live close to the land and enjoy the simple ways of life.

| March/April 1971


Christian homesteaders choose to live very modestly and enjoy being so close to nature.


If you think the back-to-the-land movement is attracting only young freaks, misfits, the alienated and disenchanted revolutionaries . . . the Christian Homesteading Movement will set you straight. Membership is for god-fearing people only, though the rest of us are welcome to learn and participate at CHM's homesteading "school."


Like the Amish, Mennonites and other fundamentalists, the CHM believes living close to nature and to the land, and working only with hand tools, gives life the simplicity most conducive to spiritual development. Unlike the Amish and Mennonites, however, the CHM is a relatively new group. It was founded in 1961 and has yet to achieve its goal; the establishment of full-fledged homesteading communities.

The CHM school and headquarters is a 68-acre farm on top of one of the rolling hills of south central New York, just outside the town of Oxford. I first learned of CHM in the Contact columns of MOTHER and when I saw a full-page article about the movement in an upstate daily, I decided to check it out.

Fortunately I didn't show up unannounced, otherwise I would have been required to spend a day sawing wood. Unannounced visitors must saw wood for a day or they are invited to leave. It's a rule that keeps tourists and crashers away.

There are other rules, too: no cameras, no "gadgets" of any kind (flashlights, radios, etc.), no hard liquor or drugs, no cars or machinery and no "profanity" or vulgarity. Tobacco is "tolerated but not encouraged" and women wearing anything but knee-length skirts and dresses are not allowed to visit. Women in shorts or pants "will be advised to go home and get dressed properly."

The homesteading school is not managed—as you might expect—by hoary Bible thumpers but by bearded, 28-year-old Richard Fahey, who has apparently. been the only continuing resident of the farm-school. I arrived during one of Richard's Saturday morning classes on homesteading skills.

peter o
4/24/2010 4:39:27 PM

Its funny ! These type of snarky remarks and constant earth loving remarks are why myself and my family will never subscribe to mother earth news . I read the stories and advice on homesteading but cant stomach the nonstop communist angle or the mother earth is our God type stuff. Some one will make a mint make a magazine for God loving or heck just non commie folks who simply want to use energy wisely or save money from using renewable resources. This article cracked me up though because for a majority im sure your fundamental religion is living green and always forcing folks near you to hear how great you are for it or worse how bad they are because they dont. I do allot of things that would probably be applauded by many on here but its my choice and free will that is why I do it not because I feel a deep seeded need to force everyone to make the same choices. Enjoy your snarky- greater then thou attitude.

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