Eliot Coleman, Barbara Damrosch – Organic farming/gardening pioneers
“What we do here is the most subversive activity we could possibly engage in, we are feeding ourselves, number one.”
By Anne Raver
New York Times
February 22, 2012
By the time they eyed each other over the tomatoes, Mr. Coleman had already published his first book, “The New Organic Grower,” and taken delegations of scientists to Europe to observe the success of intensive organic farming. Ms. Damrosch had appeared on “The Victory Garden,” the popular WGBH public television series that promoted composting and intensive gardening, and she had published a book, “Theme Gardens.” Over the years, they have both continued to write: Ms. Damrosch’s book “A Garden Primer” is a bible for gardeners; Mr. Coleman’s “Four Season Harvest” and “The Winter Harvest Handbook” explain his organic methods in detail.
Close attention to soil health and the different needs of each plant are crucial. “We’re growing 35 to 40 different crops, in greenhouses and in the field, with no pesticides, because we don’t need pesticides,” Mr. Coleman said. “Basically, we have no pests.”
This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres and a Family Undone. By daughter Melissa Coleman. With urban farming and backyard chicken flocks becoming increasingly popular, Coleman has written this timely and honest portrait of her own childhood experience in Maine with her two homesteading parents during the turbulent 1970s. Inspired by the back-to-the-land lifestyle of Scott and Helen Nearing, Coleman’s parents, Sue and Eliot, decided to create their own idyllic reality on 60 acres of land in Maine that was sold to them by the Nearing family for a token sum. While Coleman emphasizes the beauty of growing up in a family culture that valued the bounty of nature and freedom of expression, she does not hesitate to also expose farming’s detrimental effect on family life—her own well-being as well as the accidental death of her younger sister.