The Foxfire Books

For this post, I’ve read a good portion of Joel Salatin’s book Folks this Ain’t Normal. What sticks with me most is the incredibly rich history that alternative agriculture literature has. Joel mentions many other books on the subject, and it is humbling for me to become aware of the extensive canon on this subject that I am interested in and that I believe is a key to improving the human condition in the 21st century. Here’s some exposition about the Foxfire books.

The Foxfire books began in 1966 as an English class project at a high school in norther Georgia. The project culminated in a magazine about rural Appalachian culture, focusing on folk skills and traditions. It is part how-to, part oral history, and part folklore.

By 1972 the project had bloomed and produced a full-fledged book – the first of the Foxfire Book series. The back-to-the-land movement of people desire simple lives tied to the land and traditional skills used the foxfire books as instructional manuals on how to make a living from the land in rural Appalachia.

The first Foxfire Book is available at Alderman Library, and it sits next to my laptop as I write. The title and subtitle follow.

“The Foxfire Book: hog dressing; log cabin building; mountain crafts and foods; planting by the signs; snake lore, hunting tales, faith healing; moonshining; and other affairs of plain living“

I believe to be healthy, one must find a balance between the land-, craft-, and faith-based folk lifestyle of the Foxfire subjects and the modern, scientific, skeptical, technological lifestyle that is thrust upon us millennials all day, every day. This book series would be a great place to start combating that thrust and help get us to a healthier balance.



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