“Though it won’t earn you a degree, a life centered on the earth is most rewarding, giving you the opportunity to view the interconnection of all things and the dancing circles of life and death to be endlessly humbled, amazed, and confused as you reap what you sow.”
– Paul Strauss
Rutland, Ohio, would seem an unlikely place for someone born in the heart of New York City, but at nineteen, disenchanted with consumerism, the Vietnam War, and a year of college, Paul Strauss left NYC to travel out west and landed in Taos, New Mexico. While in Taos, Paul was adopted by a Native American family and learned the value that a life connected to nature could provide. After hitching his way out of Taos, Paul stopped to help two men change a flat tire, and that accidental meeting set his path in life. Paul joined the two men headed for Hocking Hills, Ohio, to find the inexpensive land that they told him awaited. Once in Ohio, Paul bought his first 80 acres.
With over forty years of sound farming practices and knowledge of indigenous herbal plants, Paul has taken tracts of poorly farmed land, including strip mines, and turned them into his farm, a business, a school, and a sanctuary. As his sixtieth birthday approached, Paul became the first person to donate a parcel of his land, to the United Plant Savers organization. United Plant Savers has dedicated the land as a Botanical Sanctuary with the purpose of preserving and studying endangered indigenous plants in Ohio.