Published: 09 June 2013
Back to the Land is about the establishment of Arthurdale just outside of Reedsville, West Virginia, USA - as a subsistence homestead under the New Deal of Democratic President Franklin. D. Roosevelt (1933 - 1945). The town was one of 99 created during the Great Depression by the Division of Subsistence Homesteads throughout the USA. The plan was to establish modern rural communities that were economically self-sufficient.
Arthurdale comprised of 165 homes on multiacre plots laid outy around a community centre, a school complex, factories and administrative buildings.
Arthurdale was built between 1933 - 1937 and in 1934 the first settlers moved in. Federal USA Government supervision of Arthurdale ended in 1947.
The author is critical of Arthurdale and other subsistence homesteads and his criticism includes public servants such as Elwood Mead (1858 - 1936) who was responsible for taxpayer-funded homesteads in Australia. Mead was former Chairman (1907 - 1911), State Rivers and Water Supply Commission, Victoria. Mead was influential in the development of closer settlements in Victoria's irrigation districts.
Arthurdale continues to exist with many of the original buildings intact.