Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Mother Earth News
The magazine was originally published in North Carolina, and had a scrappy, no-frills style and appearance throughout the 1970s. According to John Shuttleworth, the magazine was started on a shoestring budget with $1500 and published from home . The Mother Earth News embraced the revived interest in the back to the land movement at the beginning of the 1970s, and combined this with an interest in the ecology movement and self-sufficiency. Unlike other magazines with ecological coverage, The Mother Earth News concentrated on do-it-yourself and how-to articles, aimed at the growing number of people moving to the country. As a result the magazine thrived throughout the 1970s. There were articles on home building, farming, gardening, and entrepeneurism, all with a DIY approach, and the subject matter of the articles ranged widely into such subjects as geodesic domes, hunting, food storage, and even a regular column on amateur radio. Alternative energy was a frequent topic covered in the magazine, with articles on how to switch to solar power and wind power, and how to make a still and run your car on ethanol. A series of "Plowboy Interviews" was also a regular feature, which included interviews of environmental leaders and others. The Mother Earth News attracted a wide readership, not only of back to the landers but also others ranging from hippies, to survivalists, to suburban dwellers who dreamed of someday moving to the country, to long-time rural dwellers who found the DIY articles useful.
Readership declined in the early 1980s as interest in the back to the land movement waned. The Shuttleworths eventually sold the magazine to a major publisher in the mid-1980s, who redesigned the magazine with a much slicker image and repositioned it as "The Original Country Magazine."
The Mother Earth News is still published today, now owned by Ogden Publications of Topeka, Kansas.
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