MOTHER's Newsworthies: Communities Learning About Sustainability Education

Here's how Carla Emery, Frances Sheridan Goulart and Dr. Wes Jackson are helping with sustainability education in communities.

| January/February 1977


Carla Emery is author of Old Fashioned Recipe Book. After the success of her recipe book, Carla and her husband decided to open the School of Country Living in Kendrick, Idaho.


Brief: Carla Emery

"The School of Country Living is in its annual period of bankruptcy," the lady explains, half smiling. For someone who's just lost two years of hard work and more than $100,000 in a mudslide, this author/mother/educator seems unusually buoyant. But then, that's Carla Emery for you.

The bankruptcy of which Carla speaks has a long history behind it. In fact, the story really goes back to the summer of 1970, when Ms. Emery first conceived of — and began to advertise — her now-legendary Old Fashioned Recipe Book.  

The Recipe Book  — a mammoth collection of information on how to grow, cook, preserve, and serve hundreds of foods and beverages — took three and a half years to write, and made publishing history soon after its appearance in March of 1974. (The Guinness Book of World Records lists Carla's 5 pound manual as the largest mimeographed volume in general circulation, and also cites Carla for having sold more copies — 45,000 to date — of a self-published guide than anyone in history.)

Two years ago, Carla and her husband, Michael, could easily have retired on the proceeds from their super-cookbook...but they didn't. Instead, the couple used their earnings to open (in June 19751 the School of Country Living in Kendrick, Idaho...a place where people of all ages and backgrounds could come to learn farming, cooking, construction, and other skills.

From the beginning, the school operated at a loss. (It had to. State requirements effectively prohibited Carla from charging tuition.) Then, about a year ago, Bantam Books paid Carla $115,000 for publishing rights to her Recipe Book...and — for once — things were (financially speaking) looking up for the school.

All that has changed, however. For on August 2, 1976, the School of Country Living was hit by a giant mudslide...a disaster which left over a hundred animals dead and the school's buildings destroyed.

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