BY NANCY R. HILLER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES KELLAR
It’s the classic back-to-the-land fantasy.
Purchase some acreage. Build your own home. Support yourself with work that’s honest, good, and necessary: growing food, weaving cloth, making pottery.
Most who set out on this path, whether in the “back-to-the-land” movement of the 1960s or in more recent decades, find it rockier than they imagined. Manual labor takes a toll on the body. Injuries, even minor ones, can spell economic disaster. Days spent in repetitive tasks are decidedly more monotonous than romantic. Financial security is nonexistent. Most end up abandoning their dream, or at least consigning the beloved activity to spare-time status in favor of work that’s less physically demanding, more secure, and held in higher social regard: the so-called real jobs their parents always told them to get.
Yet some stick it out. Linda Chapman, owner-operator of Harvest Moon Flower Farm, is one of them. At 58, Chapman is lanky, muscular, and tanned. She wears her hair pulled back in a ponytail, a no-nonsense do that emphasizes her blue eyes and strong face lined from many seasons spent working in the sun. If you’re a regular at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market, you’ve probably spoken to her. But even if you haven’t met in person, you most likely know her work; her blooms adorn the tables at some of Bloomington’s best restaurants, and her wreaths of herbs and boxwood hang on many a wall and front door.