In rural Missouri, three hours from the closest city, four off-the-grid villages are leading the charge of people dropping out of mainstream consumer society. Here, young visionaries are growing their own food, building their own homes, getting power from wind and solar, and refusing the consumer trappings of mainstream society.
They’re extreme, sure, but that’s not to say they’re closing their doors to the public. In fact, people from all over the world flock to northeast Missouri to witness this experiment in self-sufficiency — often from the comfort of a bed & breakfast on the grounds. “The interest is growing exponentially,” says Laird Schwab, one of four who started Sandhill Farm in 1974. And to give outsiders a taste of the life, Schwab and others have open invitations for anyone to come spend a weekend — or week — on the farm.
“I never thought I would be an activist,” says Kim Scheidt, who is raising her daughter Nina with her husband on one of five farmsteads at Red Earth Trust. They live in a passive-solar house with an attached greenhouse, and share a vehicle with 50 other people. “But I am living the change I want to see. I’m demonstrating that there is another way. I tend to forget how extreme my life is until I go somewhere out in the mainstream world. Now, that’s a freaky place.”
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