A new PDF of a scanned publication has been added to Public Collectors: Hey Beatnik, This is the Farm Book! By Stephen Gaskin, 1974. Click the cover image to download the book (181.6 meg PDF file)
This PDF is a collaboration between Public Collectors and The Library of Radiant Optimism for Let’s Re-make the World. Public Collectors provided the book and scan and Let’s Re-make wrote the following description:
The Farm is a long running intentional community near Summertown, Tennessee, in the south central part of the state. It sits on 1700 acres and estimates of the current population range from 175-200 people. The Farm was started in 1971 by Hippies who migrated from San Francisco, making the trek in a large iconic caravan, to rural Tennessee. They were following Stephen Gaskin, a charismatic hippie whose “trips” – he later calls them “visions” – provided the spiritual connection that he and many others were looking for in building a place like the Farm.
This book, written by Stephen Gaskin after 2 years of living at the Farm, gives you a good sense of the values and the activities of the people, at this point around 600, that lived there. The book chronicles their caravan, which took 7 months to land them in their current locale. It wasn’t an easy journey and the book lays out some of the problems they encountered. It chronicles their growing awareness of farming and raising their own food, their interaction with neighbors, especially older farmers who they found out were an incredible resource of practical information about agricultural practices in the region.
The book encourages others to follow and make their own situations by sharing information and experiences in an open and direct manner. The book today is a study in the groundwork for an intentional community. Page 15 is devoted to enumerating exactly how many acres had to be used to generate the produce needed to sustain their population for one year. There are pages on raising horses, their communal system of banking, building methods, healthy eating, home birthing, and some idiosyncratic gems like “tripping instructions.” This is not what you think and has nothing to do with drugs; those are are covered later in the book. Rather “tripping instructions” describe the interactions and relationships of Farm folks. The people of the Farm valued truthfulness, as they saw it, and challenging each other on their shortcomings. This page lets a visitor at that time know a little of what to expect from the people who lived there.
Large parts of Hey Beatnik! are written in Hippy-speak. Changing language to more accurately reflect a culture shift and create a revolution was a popular strategy at the time, and one held dear by the Farm community. The language shouldn’t distract you from the very serious, and continuing, utopian experiment these folks undertook. The Farm is well known for many things, among them the incredible amount of work they have done on home birthing. You can visit the Farm today. They offer classes in midwifery, permaculture, eco-village building and more.