40 Years On “The Farm” – Full Documentary

“40 Years on the Farm” documentary from Randy Rudder on Vimeo.

This documentary chronicles the history of The Farm, America’s oldest hippie commune, located in Summertown,Tennessee.

From The Farm’s website:

What is The Farm?

The Farm community is a cooperative enterprise of families and friends living on three square miles in southern middle Tennessee. We started The Farm in hopes of establishing a strongly cohesive, outwardly-directed community, a base from which we could, by action and example, have a positive effect on the world as a whole. Learn more about the History of The Farm, and The Farm Today.

Where is The Farm?

The Farm was settled near Summertown, Tennessee on 1750 acres of rolling hilltops. It is 30 miles from the nearest hospital, 50 miles from the nearest interstate highway, and 75 miles from the nearest major city. It is also 35 miles from the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan.

The early community settlement was built entirely from salvaged, recycled, and local materials. A $1 road grader cut the roads, and a $1 railroad tower provided the public water supply. Scrapped school buses and army tents provided shelter from below-zero temperatures until the sawmill could begin milling native oak and salvage crews could harvest old tobacco barns, factories, and condemned houses.

On a budget of $1 per person per day and no grants, no foodstamps, and no welfare – the original 320 settlers bought the land, erected the buildings, and became agriculturally self-sufficient within 4 years.

Why Tennessee?

In the mid-1960s, many people went through a cultural change that took them away from their roots and cast them adrift, searching for something better. Disillusioned by the Vietnam War, disturbed by increasing violence and injustice in the nation, encouraged by the successes of the Civil Rights movements, and empowered by the strength of their numbers – many gravitated toward the West Coast looking for alternatives. A hysterical nation reacted to the Hippies by pursuing them in their homes and workplaces, and locking them up in prison – where many remain today. In 1970, a caravan of more than 300 of us left California to start an experimental community where our ideals could find expression in our daily lives. At $70 an acre, Tennessee gave us access to a large amount of land at an affordable price.

What are our religious beliefs?

The Farm is a nondenominational church. We like to call ourselves “free thinkers”, because we discuss religion and philosophy in terms that do not exclude any possibilities. People come to The Farm from a variety of religious traditions and disciplines, and find those views treated with honor and respect. While individual practices may vary, our group practice is an on-going, free-ranging discussion. We consider ourselves to be a spiritual community. In keeping with our deep reverence for life, we are pacifists, conscientious objectors, and most of us are vegetarians. On Sunday mornings many of us like to gather for group.

Read more about The Farm here.

Watch Kindred editor, Lisa Reagan, and her interview with Ina May Gaskin and Stephen Gaskin below:

On Being “Technicolor Amish” – a video interview with Stephen and Ina May Gaskin

Read and view all of Ina May Gaskin’s posts on Kindred here.


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