|Stephen and Ina May Gaskin|
The most famous "hippie" commune in America has lost its founding father.
Stephen Gaskin, who led a caravan of psychedelic buses to a "promised land" in Summertown, Tennessee, died Tuesday at the age of 79.
Stephen Gaskin, founder of The Farm, dies at 79
The Farm in Summertown: a historical timeline
The Farm Community
Yes, many years ago I was influenced by Stephen and his merry band of hippies, especially in the areas of nutrition, vegitarianism and organic gardening. I will raise a big organic tomato in his honor today and remember.
An excerpt from a 2011 article of mine.
Almost 40 years ago Gaskin and his band of 'hippies' came to Tennessee to escape the craziness of San Francisco and begin an experiment in community and sustainability that continues to today.
1971 and their bus caravan stopped and camped on Old Hickory Lake in Sumner County not far from my hometown. The area quickly became a tourist attraction and the road became jammed for a few days with the locals wanting to get a glimpse of real life hippies. Of course we went and talked with some of them and left with the idea that this may be something big. It was but maybe not on the scale that we envisioned.
They soon found land near Summertown and the infamous tale began.
Would I have become a vegetarian and organic gardener 38 years ago without the influence of Gaskin and crew's writings and lifestyle? Who knows? Maybe, the ideas were becoming more acceptable but it was evident even then that their presence did help jump start a lot of folks around here to pursue different forms of alternative living. Small natural food stores began opening up all over and I had the opportunity to work in a couple of them. The deliveries of their products by the Farm folks became an opportunity to discuss food and life. Over time even the locals were won over with their hard work and innovation.
Stephen's wife, Ina May, wrote the modern manual on natural child birth, Spiritual Midwifery. Her teachings still remain invaluable and will be for many years to come. I knew a number of couples who went to the farm to have Ina May and other Farm midwives deliver their babies. Everything always turned out fine.
We would go see the Farm Band with Stephen as the drummer every chance we could. They weren't the best around but they helped to form a philosophy I like ... "What you lack in talent, make up for in intensity."
Also: The Farm is at a Crossroads