The legacy of alan Chadwick
Alan Chadwick’s outsized personality is matched by the enormity of his legacy. During his life, he touched many people with his message about and practical demonstration of the importance of the human relationship with nature. He achieved this largely through his own relationship with the garden.
And, as many apprentices will tell you, it was his keen ability to not simply teach or lecture, but to offer his apprentices, as a gift, the hands-on experience of making a garden: beginning with the practical and very exhausting “digging, digging, digging” to open the earth. Despite the very real and physically difficult process of creating a beautiful, diverse, and bountiful garden, Chadwick seemed equally successful at inspiring his apprentices with his vision for healing the earth and, in essence, restoring a lost Eden.
The practical and the visionary are embodied in the two approaches to gardening – French Intensive and biodynamic – that he brought to apprentices in California, young people who, in the late 1960s and early 1970s were ready to return to Eden. Many of those young people have carried forward the Chadwick legacy into the 21st century. They and their own apprentices are his living legacy. Yes, Chadwick is present.
Photos courtesy of John Fiske/ The Alan Chadwick Archive (top) and Sara Tashker, Green Gulch Farm/ SF Zen Center
Story excerpt from oral history recorded by the Alan Chadwick Legacy Project February 2012.
"… Alan’s legacy extended directly from Covelo to the cutting edge of rural development policy-making and program development where it is working, working, working, water on stone."
--Mark Feedman, Covelo apprentice, December 2012