Helen Nearing, Role Model for Natural Lifestyle

In the late 1970s I co-owned a health food store in C. PA. As part of my efforts, I wrote the Family Nutrition Newsletter. In one issue, I interviewed Helen Nearing, who was visiting family about one hour north of where I lived. I took my assistant with me, a recent college graduate, and she and I were both taken by Helen.  She was a well-published author and her & Scott’s natural lifestyle was one of the triggers to  the back-to-the-land movement in the late 1970s.

I read several of her books, such as Living the Good Life and Leaving the Good Life and found her words inspiring and with a strong ring of truth.  I suggest you go to the library and read some of her books for inspiration to live more simply.

I have chosen Helen as my posting for #13 in Earth Day, Every Day because she and her husband had great respect for Mother Earth.


One of the Nearings’ excellent books.


Below is the NY Times posting at the time of  Helen Nearing’s death.

Published: September 19, 1995, New York Times

Helen K. Nearing, who with her husband, Scott Nearing, wrote about leaving the congested streets of Manhattan to find peace and happiness through hard work and self-sufficiency on a New England farm, died on Sunday in an automobile accident near her home in Harborside, Me. She was 91.

Mrs. Nearing, whose husband died at 100 in 1983, had continued to live alone in the farmhouse they built 40 years ago overlooking Penobscot Bay. She was killed when a car she was driving struck a tree, said Eliot Coleman, a friend who lives on a neighboring farm.

Between them, Mrs. Nearing and her husband wrote more than 50 books during their half-century of homesteading, including “Living the Good Life” and “Continuing the Good Life,” written initially in pamphlet form and then published by Schocken in 1954 and 1970, respectively.

Although written shortly after the Depression, both books became primers for thousands of urbanites who dropped out of the corporate world in the early 1970’s and headed for the quiet countryside.

P.S. A couple of years ago, I posted Rachel Carson’s profile, noting her books, and her life dedicated to saving the environment especially Silent Spring. If you go to the Search box and type in Rachel Carson, you will find theposting.

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