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OfflineLearyfan
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Hippie commune.....not in Holland
    #2698428 - 05/18/04 09:52 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Click here

Hippie commune thrives for 3 decades


SUMMERTOWN, Tenn. (AP) -- Three decades after the golden age of the hippie, about 200 of them are still thriving in a self-supporting commune some three hours east of glitzy Graceland.

Known simply as The Farm, the sprawling collective operates, among other things, a midwife service, a soy products company, a mushroom grower and a factory producing personal radiation detectors.

Established on a 1,800-acre site in 1971, The Farm has outlived nearly all of its tie-dyed contemporaries with a mix of entrepreneurship and idealism, and a touch of sweat.

"We were hippies wanting to live together, and we accepted the discipline it took to do that," said Stephen Gaskin, the founder of the commune.

Gaskin, now 68, was teaching in San Francisco when in 1966 he began holding meetings every Monday night on "what was happening outside his window," according The Farm's history posted on its Web site.

The crowds grew, so Gaskin took the gatherings on the road, attracting a throng of followers. The caravan of about 1,500 bought some land in the Lewis County hills and The Farm was formed.

The early days, which Gaskin says were guided by agreements "looser than handshakes," made it though tough times. Some bad investments and an equally poor national economy in the late '70s put The Farm about $400,000 in debt, says Douglas Stevenson, a Farm resident since 1973.

What resulted was "the changeover" in 1983, which Stevenson described as the decision to make "every adult responsible for bringing in some cash." Part of The Farm remains collectively held -- the land and the commercial buildings remain owned by everyone -- but all residents must work.

Stevenson contributes his share of work through Village Media. It started out as a satellite installation company, but now does audio, video and Web work.

Phil Schweitzer, who works with Stevenson, can recall recording Gaskin's first Monday classes on reel-to-reel film. Now he sits editing a couple's wedding using a high-tech video system Village Media is testing for a consumer magazine.

Except for their casual jeans and T-shirts, these graying men in their 50s don't look or act much like the stereotypical, free-spirit hippies. They live with other residents in modest homes spread liberally across the vast fields and forests of the commune property, and they talk wistfully about how they once took their children to play Little League games in nearby Lawrenceburg.

People here may live under a different system than others, Stevenson says, but nobody came here "trying to escape from anything."

"Our real objective is communication," Schweitzer adds. "We support ourselves by doing little jobs."

When it comes to money, The Farm's handle on the books is less exacting than at most businesses. Leaders say they don't know what the commune's overall annual income is.

But SE International, the personal radiation detector factory which Farm residents say is the commune's most profitable business, had revenues of $2.1 million for the most recent fiscal year.

Book publishing was The Farm's original business, and remains collectively owned. Business has grown from the first title -- "This Is The Farm Book," published in 1974 -- to a catalog of vegetarian books including "Flax: The Super Food" and "Native Plants, Native Healing."




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Mp3 of the month: The Loose Enz - The Black Door



Edited by Learyfan (05/19/04 01:01 AM)


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Anonymous

Re: Hippie commune in Holland [Re: Learyfan]
    #2698761 - 05/18/04 11:36 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I spoke to a very nice guy from The Farm once, great people.

http://www.thefarm.org/
This is the official website


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Offlinekosmic_charlie
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Re: Hippie commune in Holland [Re: Learyfan]
    #2698806 - 05/18/04 11:54 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I've entertained the idea of living in a commune for a while. There's one near my area that looks interesting. I like the idea of communes and I'd like to visit one just to check it out but I don't know if it's for me or not. I'm a man who likes his privacy just as much as living amongst a group of like-minded people.

Heres a link to one not far from me:

http://www.dreamtimevillage.org/index.html


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Goin' where the water tastes like wine.


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OfflineHagbardCeline
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Re: Hippie commune in Holland [Re: Learyfan]
    #2698931 - 05/19/04 12:18 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Uh, they're in Summertown, TN.

The paper you got that from, The Holland Sentinel, is from Holland, Michigan.


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I keep it real because I think it is important that a highly esteemed individual such as myself keep it real lest they experience the dreaded spontaneous non-existance of no longer keeping it real. - Hagbard Celine


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Offlinekosmic_charlie
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Re: Hippie commune in Holland [Re: HagbardCeline]
    #2698980 - 05/19/04 12:26 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Yeah I was confused about the mention of Holland because the first thing I noticed was that the place was is TN.


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Goin' where the water tastes like wine.


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OfflinePhishgrrl
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Re: Hippie commune in Holland [Re: Learyfan]
    #2699147 - 05/19/04 12:51 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Yeah, why did you put Holland in the title? I read one of the books published by them- spiritual midwifery. What a great bunch of people.


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Once in awhile you can get shown the light

In the strangest of places if you look at it right...



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OfflineLearyfan
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Re: Hippie commune in Holland [Re: Phishgrrl]
    #2699210 - 05/19/04 01:00 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Oops. Fixed.

Since it's not in Holland, it's not quite as cool. I've read about Steven Gaskin before, I just forgot where the farm was.




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Mp3 of the month: The Loose Enz - The Black Door



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Invisiblewandrnshaman
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Registered: 09/21/03
Posts: 1,196
Loc: Pinellas Co, FL
Re: Hippie commune in Holland [Re: Learyfan]
    #2699512 - 05/19/04 02:20 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I grew up a few miles from the farm. They have an open house every year and let people come in. We used to always look forward to that. They'll give classes and talks on really cool stuff.

It hasn't been a real 'commune' since the early 80's though.


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InvisibleMOTH
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Registered: 06/06/03
Posts: 23,359
Loc: In the jungle
Re: Hippie commune in Holland [Re: Learyfan]
    #2699572 - 05/19/04 02:37 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

This makes me want to live in an eco-village. I don't know if my husband will go for it though.


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InvisibleKrishna
कृष्ण,LOL
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Registered: 05/08/03
Posts: 23,284
Loc: oakland
Re: Hippie commune in Holland [Re: Learyfan]
    #2700087 - 05/19/04 08:41 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

http://www.wwoof.org - world wide organization of organic farms - great volunteer opportunities on organic farms (many of which are semi-self sufficient, if not self sufficient.

:grin:


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