a Saturday in February of 2000, I was fortunate to hear Eliot
Coleman give a presentation entitled "The Four Season
Harvest". Afterwards I purchased a copy of his
research document, "The
Harvest Manual" and even got him to sign my copy.
At the age of 26, Eliot Coleman read Helen and Scott Nearing's
(the pioneers of the back-to-the-land "good
life" movement) book, "Living
the Good Life" and it changed the course of his life.
He planted his first garden in 1965 following the methods the
In 1968, he sought out the Nearings and purchased sixty acres
from them. This land was everything that he suggests not to farm
- steep, stony, heavily treed, and very acidic. Gradually, he
cleared acre after acre and his house had neither electricity
nor a phone. For ten years, he grew and sold organic vegetables.
Mr. Coleman has written extensively on the subject of organic
agriculture since 1975. As a commercial market gardener
and lecturer on organic gardening methods, he has practiced and
perfected his methods and skills.
Although one of the primary people behind the early, grassroots
organic revolution, once the federal government took ownership
of the term through the USDA's National Organic Program, he
is now dead as a meaningful synonym for the highest quality food.
Responsible growers need to identify not only that our food is grown to
higher, more considered standards, but also that it is much fresher
because it is grown right where it is sold."
continues to promote small-scale organic farming practices and sustainable
agriculture. One of his central principles is "small is better",
advocating business growth through improved production and marketing,
rather than physical expansion. He also suggests that consumers
forge direct relationships with farmers—"know your farmer".
In the early 90's, he bought back his Harborside,
Maine farm from his ex-wife and began farming it again as the
Four Seasons Farm.
He raises lettuces, carrots, radishes and other salad vegetables
throughout year round in his unheated greenhouses in Maine.
Unlike the typical farmer, he cultivates six acres of land
year-round in one of the country's coldest climates.
is located on the Web at
by Eliot Coleman:
New Organic Grower describes practical ways of growing
organic vegetables, marketing, livestock, the winter garden,
soil fertility, weeds, and many other topics.
Harvest shows how to eliminate the confines of the growing
season, providing a simple way to grow vegetables year-round
using inexpensive techniques.