About The Ploughshare Institute

How, some may ask, can an institute hope to contribute to creating a culture? An institute seems so formal and lifeless, while a culture is a living thing. Let us explain. The word institution originally meant “a summary of principles,” and its root meaning is “to cause to stand in or towards” something, and we do want to “cause” something−even certain “principles”−”to stand.” But, again, we are more than an institution, we are a people. So we are unique in that the “classroom” is a life. Our goal therefore is to transmit a vision for a cohesive, integrated agrarian way of life, but one that aims toward bringing forth complete individuals and whole families in a supportive and tangible context, a context respectful of the natural environment. The “principles” that ensure all this are what we want “to cause to stand,” in both individual and community life. So we are dedicated to recapturing and perpetuating a sense of intentional community which includes rediscovering and perpetuating the knowledge and skills that can provide for essential human needs (both socially and spiritually as well as materially) on a sustainable basis.

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Our goal is to bring these all−but−lost arts, both of life and work, within the reach of people, especially those interested in discovering a fulfillment that only comes in one way−from participating more directly and personally in providing their essential needs in an agrarian culture. We see, along with millions of other Americans, that the modern world, despite its often tenuous material prosperity, faces many new problems and uncertainties. These include not only the dis­ruption of the fragile balance of human life situated in the natural world but also the loss of the type of communities and families that have historically sustained such balance and integrity. Though our educational organization for the public has been in operation for around eighteen years, our roots run much deeper. Our teaching facilities have, over the last third of a century, grown out of our personal efforts to build a sustainable life in a voluntary, integrated community setting. The personal rewards of those efforts, along with the interest expressed and requests made by so many others, have led us to launch this institute in order to share our knowledge and experience with any who want to learn.

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