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Spring 2004

COVER STORY: Back to the Land...Still

Merri Swid Morgan, J66
Jennifer Sturmer, J83
Kenny Williams, A71
Jack Lazor, A73
Anne Wilson, J75
Dan Horan, A89
E. H. Roy, A76
Philip Cook, A61
Nina Danforth, J73
Lloyd Zuckerberg, A84

A New Generation:
Odin Zackman, G00
Margaret Lloyd, A02
Amy Baron, A02
Abby Slosek, A99
Teague Channing, A01

When we first decided to seek alumni stories about “back to the land . . . still,” we expected to hear from graduates of the 1960s and 1970s, years marked by rejection of the “establishment” for alternative lifestyles. We were surprised when the response was much wider. We heard stories from those who have stuck by a principled way of life for more than three decades, but they are a diverse bunch: a rancher, a dairy farmer, a beekeeper. We heard from alumni like Jennifer Sturmer, A83, raising hydroponic tomatoes, and Lloyd Zuckerberg, A84, working hard to preserve open space. And then we heard from recent graduates, and it was hard not to be moved by their aspirations as educators and reformers.

In the end, we decided to run all their stories. Together, they broadened our premise well beyond its preconceptions of farming to the notion of stewardship and activism. The idea of “still” can now reflect what’s more true: the vigor of ideas that gather new meaning with each generation.

For Jack Lazor, shown with his Jersey cows at Butterworks Farm in Westfield, Vermont, organic farming has been a lifelong calling.
Their commendable stories also share a common root with the idea of sustainability. Julian Agyeman, assistant professor in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, describes sustainable development as “improving the quality of human life now and into the future in a just and equitable manner, while living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.” The work of these and other alumni is increasingly urgent, he said; recently, more than 50 percent of the world was officially classified as “urban.”
“Now you will find people who are as likely to be working in boardrooms as in fields; we want people to drop in rather than drop out, as they often did in the ’70s” he said. “The ideas surrounding quality of life are broader now—they are part of an emerging set of principles that will guide this new millennium. And in the end, we can all share in that aim. It really doesn’t matter where you live—it’s how.”