A Voice in the NELA Wilderness: Local Pioneer of Self-Reliance Practices What She Teaches – and Teaches What She Practices

2018 Christopher Nyerges Columnists Editions September

Recently, Prudence Boczarski was at the Highland Park Farmers’ Market, showcasing her natural bakery business and representing WTI, the local nonprofit founded in 1971 to teach urban dwellers how to live better with less. And since there is no better way to teach than to give a hands-on demonstration, Ms. Boczarski was also using her time at the market to show schoolchildren how to raise worms in their backyards. As the children peered into a large bucket filled with worms, she and a colleague cut strips of old newspaper and put them into the bucket.

“Worms love to devour the OLD newspaper,” she said with a smile. “They turn all this into good soil.” 

Ms. Boczarski, who has been active with WTI for 40 years, now serves as its president, overseeing WTI’s educational efforts, including classes, field trips and lectures. [Full disclosure: I am also a longtime member of WTI.] The common message of all of WTI’s outreach is that everyone can be a part of the solution to society’s serious problems, including pollution.

It is a message Ms. Boczarski has long exemplified in her own life. In the late 1970s, she was featured in the Pasadena Star News for her “roving sewing” business; she went door-to-door collecting garments that needed repairs which she would do at low cost. Her specialty was advising clients on fabrics that “breathe” and are appropriate for “survival clothing” that holds up well in the wilderness and all weather conditions.

In the mid-1980s, she was featured in the L.A. Weekly when she lived in a shed in Los Angeles for six months without electricity, demonstrating the skills needed to live in the aftermath of an earthquake. She used lanterns, cooked on an outdoor stove and washed her clothes by hand.

Until her retirement in 2013, she worked in environmental services at the L.A. Unified School District, specializing in toxic chemical remediation of school grounds. 

More recently, in her work with WTI, she has developed a lecture series – soon to be a book – outlining some of the basics of sound nutrition to help eliminate confusion on this topic.

“You’d be surprised how much contradictory information is out there,” said Ms. Boczarski. “And people don’t seem to be getting any healthier.”

Tentatively titled “17 Ways That Vastly Improve Daily Nutrition (and Physical-Mental Health),” the book will cover good vs. bad sugars, animal vs. vegetable proteins, oils that help sustain optimal health and much more. She lectures on the topic upon request.

For more information, Ms. Boczarski can be reached at PruWeb@aol.com or check the website at WTINC.info.


Christopher Nyerges, a teacher of self-reliance skills, has written many books on the subject. For more information, go to SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com.

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1 thought on “A Voice in the NELA Wilderness: Local Pioneer of Self-Reliance Practices What She Teaches – and Teaches What She Practices

  1. The Farmers Market is every Tuesday from 3 to 8, Ave. 58 at Figueroa.

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