In the 1980s, Mildred Loomis published an essay titled “Activist Meets Diversity.” It contains a list showing how the Green Revolution of Ralph Borsodi often prefigured many popular movements by decades, even half a century in some cases. Loomis’ essay shows the “back to the land” movement ebbs and flows and the list, while some of the references are dated, is perfectly suited once again in the second decade of the second millennium.
Below in bold, is a significant event in Borsodi’s life and work, followed by how it has rippled out into society years, even decades later.
1918 | Borsodis discarded packaged cereals, white bread, white sugar.
Food-reform evidenced by Natural Food Associates, National Health Federation, countless nutrition journals and whole-food markets.
1920 | From the ground up, built Dogwoods homestead.
A 1980s ground-swell in do it-yourself and back-to-the-land movement.
1921 | Small kitchen mill electrified for home grinding of flour.
Appropriate and small technology seen as popular alternatives.
1926 | Exposed high distribution costs in Distribution Age and National Advertising vs. Prosperity.
Counter-culture media raising questions in regards to centralized industrialism.
1929 | First full-scale critique of modern industrialism in This Ugly Civilization.
Late 1970s saw E.F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful a best seller.
1933 | Counselled Dayton Liberty Homesteads.
Intentional Communities proliferate.
1934 | Flight From The City published by Harpers.
For the first time in 50 years, 1977 U.S. Census reports more people leaving than entering cities.
1936 | Formed School of Living, Suffern, N.Y., for adults to humanize modern culture.
Widespread experimentation in education. Free universities.etc.
1942 | Predicted rising prices and inflation in lnflation Is Coming.
Worldwide inflation, U.S. Keynes “controlled” inflation not a solution.
1948 | Produced Education and Living in 2 volumes on his own linotype.
A concept of humanized goals and norms from Esalen, Humanists, and others.
1948 | Major Problems of Living Seminars in 20 colleges; annual regional decentralist conferences.
Proliferation of new-age groups and conferences to deal with “modern crisis”.
1958 | Toured China and India; urged East to improve family/village systems in Challenge of Asia.
Mumford, Kohn, Sale, Roszak show that bigness and power displace normal human ends.
1960 | Studied, lectured at India’s Gandhian University and published A Decentralist Manifesto.
Eastern mysticism, Buddhism permeates Western New Age. U.S. citizens form “Citizens” Party.
1968 | Produced curriculum for new adult education: 17 Problems of Individuals and Society.
U.S. directory Alternative America lists 5000 decentralist entries.
1970 | Formed I.I.I. (International Independence Institute) for Community Land Trust, Currency and Free Trade.
Increased inquiry into root causes of poverty and despair; London Fourth World and other international forums seek basic change.
1977 | Ralph Borsodi died. October 26. 1977.
Friends and students publish Dec. 1977 Green Revolution as a memorial to Borsodi.
1978 | School of Living publishes Borsodi’s Decentralist Pan-Humanist Manifesto.
Current challenge: build a truly free market. political liberty and human creativity.