Last year on this day, the Bangor Daily News launched a five-part multimedia project about the back-t0-the-land movement in Maine, a group of people that started coming in the 1970s that changed Maine socially, politically and culturally forever.
In The Good Life, we looked at the ripples created by two rebellious individuals, Scott and Helen Nearing, who rejected urban life to live more purposefully and sustaintable as a part of nature. Their book, Living the Good Life, published 61 years ago in 1954, was a blueprint for the thousands of families that followed them to Maine.
We were blown away by the positive response we received from the project. Since we launched the project, it’s been viewed more than 75,000 times. We received dozens of emails and hundreds of comments about the project. In the fall, we were recognized with an award for excellence in feature storytelling from the Online News Association for the innovative use of online storytelling.
Since then we launched a new section, Homestead, devoted to telling the stories of the people working towards living “the good life.” In Homestead, we show you ways to live these lives, from foods to prepare to energy sources, from transportation to medical care, schooling options, unusual ways to make a living and interesting DIY projects.
We started Homestead because we want to advance and contribute to the movement that celebrates natural Maine lifestyles. We want to show you the culture of self-reliant Mainers, the ingenuity of their enterprises, and how they live in connection to their homes, land, animals and community. And we want to reflect on how Maine people live independently and deliberately, from the land they love, to the foods they prepare, to the energy sources they use, to the homes they build.
Because, like we learned in that project, the back-to-the-land movement helped make Maine what it is today.