Did you know that the “back to Earth” movement in the US took off from a home base in Rockland County?
Ralph Borsodi, an economist and philosopher who came to dislike city life, wrote “This Ugly Civilization” in 1929. Borsodi and his wife bought a farm north of Suffern
in the 1920s, then started “the Bayard Lane Community” on land held in common by 16 homesteaders. He wanted to foster “agrarianism for commuters” and he commuted to work in NY City while building his dream of a green home life. In 1937 he organized a group to buy a 106-acre Dutch farm in West Nyack
for another community, which they named Van Houten Fields. Original members of both these communities built homes of native stone and produced their own food supplies.
Borsodi and Mildred Loomis founded The School of Living, (http://www.schoolofliving.org/) still considered to be “the home of organic gardening in the U.S.” The school taught the essentials of do-it-yourself agrarianism, including caning, poultry raising, animal husbandry, masonry, carpentry, use of tools and household equipment.
Both of these neighborhoods are still in existence, but the land and the homes are now owned individually. Every once in awhile one of them comes on the market!