Eileen Hagerman

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Back-to-the-landers who relocated to Maine in large numbers during the 1970s often lacked traditional rural skills and encountered a variety of agricultural challenges related to the state’s harsh climate and poor soils. Many who remained on the land often did so, at least initially, because they received support from elderly neighbors who still practiced low-input, small-scale farming. These neighbors tended to freely share their knowledge and skills and, in return, often benefited from the young newcomers’ assistance with laborious on-farm tasks. The newcomers worked with their local allies to form organizations, share knowledge, and coordinate marketing efforts tailored to meet the needs of small scale and organic farmers and gardeners. A major outgrowth of these efforts was the initiation of a small-farming renaissance that increasingly set Maine apart from that of the rest of the United States. Eileen Hagerman was born in Owensboro, Kentucky. She earned a BA in History from the University of Louisville in 2009 and an MA in History from the University of Maine in 2013. Her MA thesis, (submitted to the Graduate School under the name Eileen Palmer in August, 2013) is titled, Putting Down Roots: How Back-to-the-Landers Changed Maine’s Local Food Economy. She is currently a PhD candidate in History at the University of Maine where she studies environmental and agricultural history, particularly food cooperatives in New England during the 1970s and 1980s.