Stephen Gaskin, a former English professor at San Francisco State College, conducts Monday Night Class, an open meeting discussing how psychedelic experiences relate to world religions.
Eventually classes attract more than 1,000 students a week.
Gaskin tours the country to speak to congregations of various churches.
Two hundred regular attendees of Monday Night Class decide to accompany him and a 60-bus caravan forms. A video biography on Steven Gaskin can be found on The Farm’s current website.
Black Swan Ranch: Summertown
After returning to California four months later, the caravan members decide to pool their money, buy land and stay together as a community.
They arrive in Summertown and place a down payment on the 1,050 acre Black Swan Ranch south of Nashville.
The Farm Community is founded with a population of 300.
The Farm rocks
The Farm’s homegrown rock n’ roll band begins a series of coast-to-coast tours with Gaskin, playing in parks and student centers for free while promoting the community and increasing membership.
Then-reporter Al Gore writes about The Farm for The Tennessean newspaper. The Farm Clinic and The Farm School are founded.
The Farm purchases “Hickory Hill”
The Farm purchases 700-acre “Hickory Hill,” adding to its land collective.
The Farm Bakery opens and The Rocky Branch Farm in Kentucky opens.
Marijuana crops bring arrests
Gaskin and several others are jailed for one year for growing marijuana on The Farm property.
“Hey Beatnik! This is the Farm Book” is published. Good Tasting Nutritional Yeast mail order company started.
Plenty USA is founded as an aid outreach addressing hunger and communities in need. Several satellite communities start, including NY Farm in Franklin, The Virginia Farm near Louisa, and The Washington Farm.
The Farm population grows
The Farm population grows to more than 750 people, including 160 married couples and 250 children. Over the next few years Plenty centers are set up in the South Bronx, Miami, St. Louis, Washington D.C., Chicago, the Caribbean, Guatemala, Central America, Africa and Bangladesh. The Rocky Branch Farm in Kentucky closes but other satellite farms are formed nationwide. The Farm Building Company is founded.
Midwifery at The Farm
Ina May Gaskin’s “Spiritual Midwifery” is published; the book on home birth introduced a generation of women to the concept of natural childbirth and earned Gaskin national and international fame.
The Farm receives national attention
National Geographic article “Walk Across America,” publishes with Peter Jenkins’ visit to The Farm.
Chicago Farm opens and Georgia Farm closes.
Hepatitis temporarily closes The Farm gate
A hepatitis outbreak closes the gate at The Farm in Tennessee to new members, causing populations to rise at some satellite farms. The first swimming hole opens at The Farm.
Ham radio crew develops the “Nuke Buster,” a handheld Geiger counter now called Radiation Alert that continues to sell internationally. Solar Electronics starts up.
“Walk Across America,” with Peter Jenkins’ visit to The Farm is published as a book.
Raid inspires festival
State police raid The Farm at night looking for marijuana plants and converging on a field of ragweed, thus beginning the annual July 11 Ragweed Day Festival;
Stephen Gaskin and The Farm’s Plenty International win the first Right Livelihood Award, which has been presented annually in Stockholm every year since to honor and support those “offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.”
Most of the 17 existing satellite farms sell off and many of those residents move to Tennessee.
The Phil Donahue Show hosts Gaskin.
Kids to the Country program
Kids to the Country program begins on New York Farm, bringing at-risk and urban youth to The Farm to enjoy nature and study peace education.
Increase in visitors
The Farm population grows to more than 1,200 members, half of whom are children; the annual number of visitors increases to more than 10,000.
Transitions at The Farm
The “changeover” takes place, and The Farm transitions from being totally collective, where all things were held in common, to a cooperative. The land is held in common but monthly dues are levied for community expenses. The population decreases dramatically.
Solar Electronics become S.E. International, Inc.
The Farm business Solar Electronics becomes S.E. International, Inc., a developer, manufacturer and distributor of Geiger counters, radiation detectors and more.
Property paid off
Last payment made on The Farm property, which was purchased in 1971 at $70 an acre.
Alternative Energy Fair
The Farm hosts its first Alternative Energy Fair.
Conservation protects land
Swan Conservation Trust is created as a means of protecting headwater forests and streams in the Big Swan and Big Bigby watersheds.
Creation of Website
Creation of the first Farm website, with links to all the current business ventures and programs.
See the modernized version of the site here.
Swan Conservation Trust makes first land purchase, 100 acres near Summertown in the headwaters of the Big Bigby Creek, now known as “The Highland Woods Preserve.
“Ecovillage Training Center opens as an immersion school on sustainable living.
The Farm Yoga Studio opens.
Swan Conservation Trust receives the Natural Heritage Conservation Award from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Second generation graduates
Final second-generation Farm kid graduates from The Farm School.
Are Your Experienced?
Through the Farm Experience program, visitors can enjoy all the features of The Farm.
Population of The Farm Community averages 200 people, including visitors, interns, birthing couples and temporary residents.
The Farm celebrates 40th anniversary
40th anniversary of the founding of The Farm Community. Ina May Gaskin becomes a 2011 Right Livelihood Award laureate for “her whole-life’s work teaching and advocating safe, woman-centered childbirth methods that best promote the physical and mental health of mother and child.”
Stephen Gaskin dies at his home the morning of July 1, 2014.