Susan Witt

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Biographical Information

"Susan Witt is Education Director and ex-officio member of the Board of Directors of the New Economics Institute. Previously she was Executive Director of the E. F. Schumacher Society, the predecessor of New Economics Institute. In 1980 she helped found the Society and led the development of its highly regarded publications, library, seminars, and other educational programs while at the same time remaining deeply committed to implementing Schumacher’s economic ideas in her home region of the Berkshires.

"Susan helped found the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires in 1980 and has been responsible for many of the innovative financing and contracting methods that the Land Trust uses to create more affordable access to land. In 1982 she created and administered the SHARE micro-credit program, the precursor of BerkShares, and in 1985 helped Robyn Van En form the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in the United States at Indian Line Farm. In 2006 she co-founded the BerkShares local currency program, which has won unprecedented international media attention as a model for other regions.

"Susan writes and speaks on the theory and practice of building sustainable local economies. Her essays appear in Rooted in the Land, edited by William Vitek and Wes Jackson (Yale University Press, 1996); People, Land, and Community: Collected E. F. Schumacher Society Lectures, edited by Hildegarde Hannum (Yale University Press, 1997); the 1999 edition of Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered, by Ernest Fritz Schumacher (Hartley and Marks Publishers, 1999); A Forest of Voices: Conversations in Ecology, edited by Chris Anderson and Lex Runciman (Mayfield Publishing Company, 2000); Environmental Activists, edited by John Mongillo (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001); The Money Changers: Currency Reform from Aristotle to E-cash, edited by David Boyle (Earthscan Publications, 2002); The Essential Agrarian Reader, edited by Norman Wirzberg (University Press of Kentucky, 2003); and What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs, edited by Stephen Goldsmith and Lynne Elizabeth (New Village Press, 2010). " [1]

"She names among her primary influences: Jane Jacobs, Leo Tolstoy, Simone Weil, Martin Buber, Robert Swann, Rudolf Steiner, and her colleagues at the New Economics Institute. She loves her hillside home, her garden, her Great Barrington community, and she loves to travel. " [2]

Her life partner was Bob Swann.

Indian Line Farm

"The ideas that informed the first two American CSAs were articulated in the 1920s by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), and then actively cultivated in post- WW II Europe in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The ideas crossed the Atlantic and came to life in a new form, CSA, simultaneously but independently in 1986 at both Indian Line Farm in Massachusetts and Temple-Wilton Community Farm in New Hampshire.

"The two original CSA farms are still thriving as of 2004. Both have established enduring legacies, even though they have confronted many challenges over the years...

"Susan Witt was there at the beginning. She is director of the E.F. Schumacher Society, headquartered about a mile down the road from Indian Line Farm in South Egremont, Mass.

"Susan recalls that articles in Rodale’s Organic Gardening magazine (2) attracted a young gardener named Jan Vander Tuin to South Egremont in 1985, where he met with her, Robyn Van En and other members of the community." [1]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. New Economics Institute Susan Witt, organizational web page, accessed May 31, 2012.
  2. New Economics Institute Detailed Bio, organizational web page, accessed May 31, 2012.