America's First Permaculturalist?

Adam Taggart
By Adam Taggart on Thu, Jun 5, 2014 - 11:58pm

Recently, I paid a visit to Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, CA.

Yep, that Jack London. The guy who wrote The Call of The Wild, White Fang, and several other of the most enduring fiction stories of the early 20th century that your 8th grade English teacher likely made you read.

Jack was cut from a similar cloth as contemporary authors like Hemingway; these were men for whom it was important to experience first-hand the brawny adventure they wrote about.

London was also a naturalist, who had a deep appreciation for man's connection to the land, and how that land was managed. As the proceeds from his books grew, he purchased 1,400 acres in Glen Ellen in 1905 to be developed into a model working farm, which he named "Beauty Ranch".

On the ranch, he utilized a number of ancient farming practices he observed while in Asia; many of them regarding water management. London observed a huge difference between the farming methods of American farmers -- which he concluded were abusive and destructive to the land -- and those that had been employed successfully for centuries in the Orient.

Reading copies of London's own writing, it struck me that he had a clear appreciation for the central tenets of sustainable farming, and would be welcomed as a kindred mind by today's permaculturalists.

Read these excerpts below. You'll find it hard to argue that much of humankind's understanding of Nature is rarely "new", just re-discovered:

Note: If you're reading this and are not yet a member of Peak Prosperity's Agriculture & Permaculture Group, please consider joining it now. It's where our active community of gardening enthusiasts share information, insights and knowledgable daily discussion to help you succeed in growing your own food. Simply go here and click the "Join Today" button.


Thetallestmanonearth's picture
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 28 2013
Posts: 325

Do you know which of his writings these excerpts are from?  I would love to add those books to my shelves.

kevinoman0221's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 25 2008
Posts: 144
Mind = blown

Mind = blown

ckessel's picture
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 12 2008
Posts: 487
That is an excellent bit of

That is an excellent bit of sleuthing Adam! I will refer our permaculture class to your article.


Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
wow, awesome

And I love his books. Yes, anyone who'd seen what we now call sustainable agriculture in the Far East would of course see the contrast, but few did anything about it. Thanks for sharing. \


Wildlife Tracker's picture
Wildlife Tracker
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2012
Posts: 403
America's First Chuck Norris?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments