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Saturday 20 December  
Eustace Conway (left) has been living off the land for more than 30 years

Earth Beat - Back to the Land

On air: 21 October 2011 3:00 (Photo: Lucas Foglia)

More about:

Earth Beat, 21 October 2011. We head back to the land, to the simple life. But is it really that simple? From killing your own deer for meat and clothing, to growing things in a cramped slum, or foraging in the forest, we examine how to get the most out of the land around us, and what it takes.

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Eustace Conway
Eustace Conway
Living off the land

Eustace Conway has been living off the land for more than 30 years. He has built his own home, does all his own blacksmithing, makes all his own tools and medicines, doesn’t personally use electricity or running water, grows and hunts for his own food and makes his own clothes. And he has since he was 17. For nearly 20 years, including his college years, Eustace lived in a tepee in the Appalachian mountains, where he still lives today, and fended for himself. And it all began at a very early age. (photos below).

He speaks to host Marnie Chesterton about why it’s important to stay connected with the natural world.

Further reading: GQ article - The Last American Man. Shawnee Street Media blog - On Turtle Island.

Michiel Bussink
Michiel Bussink
Digging and trading

Earth Beat producer Anik See, though no stranger to turning food into delicious things, has not fulfilled her foraging potential.

So she paid a visit to Michiel Bussink, a journalist who writes about wild food, in a village in eastern Holland, to see what she could harvest, in the hope she’d make something yummy for her colleagues in the office (photos below).

She took some of the food to the Stroom vegetable exchange in The Hague to see what she could trade for it (photos below).

Susan Gregory Thomas
Susan Gregory Thomas
Forced back to basics

Before her divorce, Susan Gregory Thomas wanted for nothing.

She ordered organic food online, shopped in expensive delicatessens, and was able to offer her children an extremely healthy diet.

But when her fortunes changed and she found herself strapped for cash, Susan was forced to grow her own produce.

She tells Marnie why going back to the land wasn’t a choice, but the only way she could stick to her principles.

Eric Osoro in Nairobi
Eric Osoro in Nairobi
Reluctant farmer

Not everyone rolls their sleeves up and works the land willingly.

From the age of four, Eric Osoro was expected to help out on the family farm.

He describes to Marnie the gruelling years he spent tending crops and animals, while studying for school by the light of a burning branch by night.

Through sheer hard work he managed to get himself a good job in Nairobi, but pressures to return to the farm are never far away.

Lilian in her garden - Kibera, Kenya
Lilian in her garden - Kibera, Kenya
Seed sacks in the slums

The biggest slum in the world, Kibera, is within the city limits of Kenya’s capital Nairobi.

While people there would love to grow their own food, there just isn’t the land available.

Step forward Solidarités International, a group which is teaching locals how to grow their own garden, in a sack.

It’s basically, low-tech vertical gardening, as teacher Sam Walari explains to Marnie (more photos below).

Watch a video about The Kenya Sack Garden Project.

Finding brass amongst the muck

London’s roads might not be paved with gold, but British recycling giant Veolia says they may be strewn with other precious metals, which are emitted from catalytic converters in the city’s cars. Earth Beat producer Marijke Peters took a trip to the English capital to see the platinum literally being swept off the street.

How the recovery process works:

  • In 1978, aged 17, Eustace Conway went to live in the woods<br>&copy; Photo: Eustace Conway -
  • Eustace Conway in a canoe<br>&copy; Photo: Eustace Conway -
  • Foraging in Lettele woods<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • Foraging: stinging nettle, clover and yarrow<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • Foraging: rowan berries<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • Foraging: American bird cherry<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • Foraging: a small corner of Michiel Bussink&#039;s garden: grapes, tomatoes, pumpkin<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • Foraging: walnuts<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • Foraging: elderberries<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • Foraging: wild mushrooms<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • Anik prepares for the food swap<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • At Stroom vegetable exchange<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • At Stroom vegetable exchange<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • At Stroom vegetable exchange<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • At Stroom vegetable exchange<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • At Stroom vegetable exchange<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • At Stroom vegetable exchange<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • At Stroom vegetable exchange<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Anik See -
  • Harvested vegetables for sale<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Marnie Chesterton -
  • Crops growing in a sack<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Marnie Chesterton -
  • How to make a garden in a sack<br>&copy; Photo: RNW/Marnie Chesterton -


Jonise 10 October 2014 - 1:26pm

Obat Herbal Alami Penyakit Trigliserida amazon Plus obat penurun trigliserida

user avatar
Belinda Lopez 25 October 2011 - 9:39am / The Netherlands

Such a wonderful show. I thought the piece with Eustace was very funny- we were laughing out loud at home. Anik's trading adventure was also a pleasure to listen to- lovely sounds at the market.

PeterNY 21 October 2011 - 4:08pm / USA

Trust me: 99.99999999999999999% of the population will never go this route.

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