The Farm was settled in 1970 (actually 1971 – Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com) near Summertown, Tennessee on 1750 acres of rolling hill tops in Lewis County.
The earliest beginnings of The Farm Community go back to San Francisco and a weekly meeting called Monday Night Class. Young people of the counterculture movement would gather weekly to discuss spiritual values and the vision of a new society. The focal point and facilitator for these meetings was Stephen Gaskin, a creative writing teacher from San Francisco State University who left his position to play an active role in the changing times.
Gaskin was invited by a group of Ministers to hold a series of talks in churches throughout the US. Over 200 others came along, forming a line of 60 school buses on a transcontinental odyssey that became known as, The Caravan.
The Caravan ended in San Francisco, leaving its participants with the question, “What next?”
The obvious answer was to acquire land and build a community of their ideals. After a lengthy search, a down payment was made on a 1000 acre former cattle ranch called the Black Swan Ranch in Middle Tennessee. It was called, The Farm.
In the beginning there was one house, a couple of barns.
Buses were driven and pulled into the woods, down the old logging roads, and people settled in to build a new life. Tents replaced the buses, followed by a rough homes built from recycled lumber and tin, salvaged from buildings the residents demolished throughout the local vicinity.
The hippies learned from their neighbors, how a farm, how to cut wood, and when to head to the swimming hole to escape the intense Tennessee sun.
The Farm first developed a vegan diet. “That is what started our cookbooks. Now it is up to each family to practice what diet they choose for their family.” Many recipes were developed and turned into cookbooks sold through the community’s Book Publishing Company, one of its first businesses.
The Farm continues to serve as a model for a way in which humans can live together in peace. It continues to keep the principles of nonviolence as its core foundation. Respect for the environment and living lightly on the Earth continues to be a common thread uniting all members.
The Ecovillage Training Center
Education and outreach as a way to influence the world at large remain a priority, exemplified through its many different interrelated projects and organizations.
Like anything created by humans, they have small examples of alternative green buildings, growing shiitaki mushrooms, natural building workshops, and more. Apprenticeships and a volunteer program, WOOFER work exchange program, are offered. Rather, it is the community’s ability to evolve and change, adapt and survive through both good times and hard times, that allow it to serve as a model.
Forest – Swan Trust
Currently The Farm Community, related organizations and affiliated individuals own and control over 4,000 contiguous acres. With thousands of acres of hardwood forest surrounding the community being clear cut in recent years, these ecosystems stand is an island for countless species and protects the watershed for future generations.
By living together in a community, individuals gain greater leverage in the pursuit of their ideals.
These ideals are passed from one generation to the next through example and collective participation in a variety of efforts that possess a single common purpose: to make a positive difference in the world.
Ultimately it is the ability to pass on core ideals to a future generations that defines sustainability for the community. As society’s awareness on the critical state of the planet increases, a new generation of young idealists are finding The Farm Community as a way to jumpstart the fulfillment of their vision to create a better world.
The Farm Welcome Center is often the first stop for people entering the community. It has information about the community, their events calendar and from their businesses and nonprofit organizations. Many books written and published by their Book Publishing Company are on sale at the Welcome Center, along with tie dye wall hangings and other gift items.
The Farm Community, including The Farm Store, is open for visitors from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. everyday, except for Christmas, New Years and the 4th of July holidays.
The Welcome Center is open Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and some Saturdays, Central Standard Time. If you’d like to visit The Farm and see the community or need campground information, please call Vicky at 931-964-3574 or email ahead to arrange to be met by one of their staff.
The Farm has primitive campgrounds with running water and an outhouse. Some lodging is available in cabins and homes at reasonable rates. The Farm Store has an assortment of foods and supplies. Visitors are asked not to bring weapons or pets. They can also make arrangements for groups to include a tour and a vegetarian lunch in. Retreat and Conference Services are also available.
The Farm Welcome Center
100 Farm Road
Summertown, Tennessee 38483
931 964 3574
Article compiled from http://thefarmcommunity.com