Communes like the Farm have their antecedents throughout American history. Contraception was discouraged, and children proliferated.
For the past few years, Gaskin has remained out of the public eye due to vision and health problems. I have passed my philosophical and religious ways on to my children, who are very proud of their heritage and ancestors." Working on the Farm, his commune, was considered a form of meditation. In addition to his work on The Farm, Gaskin ran an unsuccessful campaign in 2000 to become presidential nominee for the Green Party. Today, the Farm has about 200 residents. They pooled their money and started making decisions by consensus. Stephen Gaskin speaking to his followers in 1970 in San Francisco. (Cultivation of the plant on the Farm was later abolished.) He first attracted notice in the late 1960s in San Francisco, where he convened weekly seminars called Monday Night Classes. Answering Mr. Gaskins call to change the world, Farmies, as they called themselves, built 1,200 houses for the victims of a 1976 earthquake in Guatemala, set up volunteer ambulance services in the South Bronx and on an Indian reservation in upstate New York, and started a school lunch program in Belize and an agricultural training program in Liberia. We were a collective, which is scary enough for some people.. In a 1997 interview with NewsChannel5, Gaskin laughed as he described The Farm was a 'gated community of not-rich people'.
As the story goes, someone at a meeting blurted out, Lets go to Tennessee where people had been nice to them and get a farm.. He was paroled after one year. It was Stephen F. Gaskin. Bates told The Associated Press that Gaskin had been ill for a while. In 1976, Gaskin married Ina May, who became nationally known through her 1977 book Spiritual Midwifery, which sold more than 600,000 copies. In 1980, Plenty International, a charitable organization Mr. Gaskin started, was awarded one of the first Right Livelihood Awards. Mr. Gaskins wife, Ina May Gaskin, is a nationally known advocate for home births. There were no rules. He was 79. A former obituary writer, Steve Chawkins joined the Los Angeles Times in 1987 after working as a reporter and editor at the Santa Fe Reporter in New Mexico and the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. Best remembered for founding a Tennessee spiritual community known as The Farm, this prominent counterculture figure and member of the 1960s hippie community of San Franciscos Haight-Ashbury district also published numerous books and devoted himself to an activist organization called Plenty International. But to his followers, he ultimately offered more than spiritual guidance. Were high-tech hippies now, Mr. Gaskin told the Los Angeles Times a decade ago. Mr. Gaskin, seen in 1972, explained his beliefs to his followers and congregants of a church in Tennessee. Chappelle takes to stage and pokes fun at 'transgender lunatics' after Minneapolis venue bowed to woke mob and forced him to move his sold-out show, Now Disney ditches its 'fairy godmothers': Theme parks will use more gender neutral title 'apprentices' for cast members working at its dress-up salons, 'I felt like a walking coffin': Woman, 42, says she was forced to carry her dead fetus inside her for TWO WEEKS after Texas doctors refused to perform D&C until she got 'additional evidence' that her baby didn't have a heartbeat, Trump's lawyer Alina Habba called NY Attorney General Letitia James 'that black b*tch' and sang rap songs with N-word in the office, legal assistant claims in lawsuit, 'Wexner will do anything for me!' Pictured above attending a New Zealand festival in 1981.
Most of them work in nearby towns, while others work within the community for homegrown industries like a book publishing company, soy dairy and solar electronics company. I was in sync with them for a while, but that changed, and thats all right. Bless you Stephen.
It also spurned insularity for outreach. Douglas Stevenson, who described himself as an unofficial spokesman for the still-extant Farm community, confirmed the death and said he did not know the cause. Gaskin told The Associated Press that year he had no problem answering the question on marijuana, "Did you inhale?" Thank you Stephen for being my spiritual teacher when I needed guidance so much. When he returned to the farm, he married wife Ina May Middleton, a nationally-recognized midwife. Lying about his age, Stephen joined the Marines at 17 and saw combat in Korea.
There was hepatitis from a polluted stream, and hunger during a harsh time that came to be called the wheatberry winter. In 1974, Gaskin spent nearly a year in jail for growing marijuana. The psychedelic testimony of the saints, he called it. He was married four times: to Carol Groves (during the late 1950s); Men were expected to treat women with knightly chivalry, he said. Three earlier marriages ended in divorce. Gretchen Bates, who grew up on the 'The Farm' and is close to Gaskin's family, told The Associated Press that Gaskin died of natural causes at his home on the Summertown commune. With the charisma of a guru, he drew hundreds of attendees sometimes as many as 1,500 for sessions in which he delved into topics including religion and personal fulfillment. He also said, "If you want to throw some seeds in your garden and grow some pot and smoke it yourself, I don't think it's anybody else's business. And he said her brother helped organize the longshoremen's union on the waterfront in San Francisco in the 1930s and '40s.
Domestically, the group founded an ambulance service for poor communities in the Bronx and did relief work after Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Gaskin and his wife, the former Ina May Middleton, developed a free midwifery service for women, communard or not.
He served one year of a three-year sentence, and after being released successfully fought in the Tennessee Supreme Court to have his voting rights restored. He called it Rocinante. An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Mr. Gaskins full name was Stephen Floyd Gaskin. His teaching job ended in 1967 but for the next three years he packed auditoriums and ballrooms with his Monday Night Class. As many as 1,500 pure hippies, as the New York Times described them in 1970, would show up for Gaskins spiritual insights. Play it now. We started seeing meththat was skinny guys sleeping in doorwaysyou could tell the meth. I honestly liked it better when it was a circus. A message on The Farm's website reads: "We mourn the passing of Stephen Gaskin, our founder and friend.
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Community members lived in tents and school buses before building homes. Its easier to be God than to see God.. If you lost your leader, you're leaderless and lost, but if you lose your teacher there's a chance that he taught you something and you can navigate on your own.'. By then it had accepted elements of capitalism, having fallen deep into debt in the early 1970s. But otherwise, news accounts describe a friendly relationship between the commune and the neighboring communities. He also was managing editor of the Ventura Star-Free Press. By 1980, The Farm's population had grown to more than 1,200 in Lewis County near Summertown. Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group, Newlywed husband escaped on a KAYAK to island 1.2miles away from $3,500-a-night honeymoon bungalow in Fiji where he 'beat his pharmacist wife to death in bathroom': Found 36hrs later and charged with her murder, House PASSES bill to protect right to contraception: Just EIGHT Republicans join Democrats to protect access to birth control after Clarence Thomas urged SCOTUS to reconsider Griswold v. Connecticut, First US polio case since 2013 is detected in upstate New York resident, Amber Heard officially files to APPEAL verdict in defamation case against ex-husband Johnny Depp a week after a judge rejected her demand for a new trial, Incest allegations against Ricky Martin are DROPPED after singer's nephew withdraws his abuse claims: 21-year-old was said to be struggling with mental health issues, East Coast braces for TORNADOES as heat wave continues to soar with NYC, DC and Boston reaching a sweltering 93F today: At least 256m Americans are under heat warnings with temperatures set to rise, Ex-MLB player Jim Edmonds slams ex-wife, RHOC star Meghan King for post about their son Hart's potty-training difficulties: 'She's trying to get attention for herself', 'Folks, I'm doing great': Biden, 79, tweets picture of himself 'keeping busy' in isolation at the White House after catching COVID - as administration says he's still in charge, A cough and a fist bump with MBS on Saturday during his packed Middle East trip and a rest from public events on Monday: Biden's schedule for the last seven days before he tested COVID positive, Republicans including Ted Cruz, Chuck Grassley and Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway 'send their prayers' to Biden, 79, after he tested positive for COVID, How President Biden's advanced age, neurological issues, heart condition and past history of cancer all put the 79-year-old in the severe risk category for COVID, White House is forced to clarify that Biden does NOT have cancer after he misspeaks yet again during speech, Love don't cost a thing but J.Lo and Ben Affleck's marital palace comes at a price! Purchased for $70 an acre, the fledgling community endured trials that were practically biblical. To Ina May, Paul, Sam and all Stephen's children and family, I bless the day a friend gave me a copy of the book Monday Night Class in 1972 and set me on a path of trying to live a decent and compassionate life. He was 79. Gaskin died of natural causes at his home in Summertown on Tuesday, according to Gretchen Bates, who grew up on The Farm and is close to Gaskin's family. Anyone can read what you share. Shortly after the Farm was founded, Mr. Gaskin was arrested, convicted and imprisoned for the manufacture of marijuana. Its the name of Don Quixotes horse and John Steinbecks pickup truck, he said, so its a vehicle for an incurable idealist.. We dont do acid on the Farm, he told the San Francisco Chronicle. The sheriff called the Farmies a fine bunch of people. Mr. Gaskin was nonetheless arrested and convicted on drug charges after the police found a large marijuana patch on the property, having been alerted by passers-by who had witnessed naked commune members playing flutes to the plants. At its population peak in the late 1970s, some 1,500 people called The Farm home, living in tents, buses and ramshackle houses with as many as 60 people sharing close quarters. Weeks before the convention, he had amassed a war chest of $400, the Associated Press reported.
We hold all property in common. There aint nothing devious about it: Right upfront, were trying to build an alternative culture.. After service in the Marine Corps during the Korean War, he studied creative writing at what is now San Francisco State University before beginning his speaking career. Get email updates about Stephen Gaskin delivered directly to your inbox. No guns. Plenty of work considered a form of meditation was assigned. Some said Mr. Gaskin had pushed the community to expand beyond its capacity.
Gaskin personally ran into problems though in 1976 when it was discovered that marijuana was being grown on the commune during a raid. Mr. Gaskin, who became a minister under Tennessee law, decreed that if couples had sex they must be considered engaged, and if the woman became pregnant, they must marry. Unions of two or three couples were not unheard of, and Gaskin was for a time involved in a marriage of six.
In 1997, Gaskin wrote in an opinion piece published in The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville that his "freethinking" philosophy was generational. A native of Denver, Colorado, he later lived in San Francisco, California, and ultimately settled in Summertown, Tennessee.
In 1971, they pooled their money and bought a tract of land in central Tennessee for $70 per acre. I haven't seen Stephen since 2003 but I cherish my visits to your home and your Thank-you, Stephen, for having been my spiritual teacher. Peace be with you.
Ina May Gaskin was inducted four years earlier. You cant define God, said Gaskin, who had tried to do so in the course of a couple of hundred acid trips. Asked by a reporter if he had inhaled a reference to future President Bill Clintons assertion that he had not Mr. Gaskin replied: I didnt exhale.. Gaskin denied knowing about the weed, but took responsibility and went to prison. Unlike so many of its hippie-era brethren, The Farm is still alive. The article has been corrected. Vegetarianism was mandatory. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. He is also survived by a daughter from his second marriage, Dana Wenig; a son, Floyd Hagler, from a nonmarital relationship; three children from his current marriage, Eva, Samuel and Paul Gaskin; a sister, Sherry Gaskin; and five grandchildren. Three previous marriages ended in divorce. Peyote and mushrooms are a matter of personal conscience.. Or purchase a subscription for unlimited access to real news you can count on. Above, workers on the farm pictures in December 1971, Spiritual guide: In order to live on The Farm you had to accept Gaskin as spiritual leader, but he preferred to be known as a teacher, All together: Members of the commune pooled resources and worked jobs to keep The Farm running, 'The cops said, "Whose pot is this?"' With about 175 members, its smaller and more consumer-friendly; it hosts group retreats and sells souvenir tote bags at The Farm website. The nomination that year went to consumer-rights advocate Ralph Nader. There are also midwives who practice outside of the community. Modern amenities gradually arrived; the phone service was informally known as Beatnik Bell. Carol Ladas (during the early 1960s); Margaret Nofziger (from the late 1960s through the mid 1970s); and professional midwife Ina May Middleton (from 1976 until his death in 2014). Four years later, his work on The Farm was recognized when he was inducted into the Counterculture Hall of Fame. There they founded the Farm, with Mr. Gaskin as their leader. Currently, The Farm has about 200 residents. A message on The Farm's website reads: 'We mourn the passing of Stephen Gaskin, our founder and friend. Most of them work in nearby towns, while others work within the community for homegrown industries like a book publishing company and soy dairy. Fifty more vehicles and 150 more people, including several babies born along the way, joined the tour. And I don't think that the Constitution thinks that it's anybody else's business." But a financial crisis a few years later led to a reorganization in which members began paying monthly dues. In his day, Mr. Gaskin was a countercultural celebrity, the figurehead of a commune that seemed to have achieved the critical mass, wherewithal and collective commitment needed to make such a society work when so many others had petered out. She described him as a visionary and spiritual guide who advocated being responsible and giving back to the community. At the Farm, however, he enforced a strict policy. They pursued ecological sustainability, adopting vegan diets and rigorous recycling practices. I also love science fiction., Stephen Gaskin, Hippie Who Founded an Enduring Commune, Dies at 79, https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/03/us/stephen-gaskin-hippie-who-founded-an-enduring-commune-dies-at-79.html. Before I tripped I dont think Id ever really introspected in my life, he told The Post in 1979. As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. His father was a builder. Leigh Kahan, one of The Farm's founding members, said the reorganization "changed everything" because The Farm went from being a "true collective to being a true cooperative." In 2000, Gaskin unsuccessfully sought the Green Partys presidential nomination, losing to Ralph Nader by a wide margin. It incorporated as a family monastery to avoid taxes. It was going decadent, he said years later. But where it departed from most of its counterparts was in embracing an entrepreneurial spirit: It created a book-publishing business, marketed pickles and sorghum syrup under the Old Beatnik label, and even dealt in hand-held Geiger counters to measure radiation leaks at nuclear power plants. Such a great passion for birthing out side, way outside of the box. No synthetic psychedelics.
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Our condolences to Ina May and family.There were a lot of gurus to choose from out there back then but Stephen Gaskin was by far the most American of the bunch and that felt real and a little like home. His death on Tuesday after a lengthy illness was confirmed by Douglas Stevenson, a longtime resident of The Farm and the author of two books about it. Mr. Gaskin wrote books including Amazing Dope Tales, Cannabis Spirituality and An Outlaw in My Heart. In recent years, he dedicated efforts to Rocinante, a retirement community he founded and named after Don Quixotes horse. But I also like being solvent.. Those who joined The Farm had to accept Gaskin as their spiritual guru but he preferred being known as a teacher and not a leader. Homeland Securitys been good to us, Gaskin told the Times in 2004. In 2000, Mr. Gaskin sought the Green Party nomination for president.
Marriage, perhaps to the surprise of skeptics, was encouraged. No liquor. His campaign platform included peace and the legalization of marijuana.
Drawn to San Francisco after his military service, he received his bachelors and masters degrees in language arts from San Francisco State University. Mr. Gaskin recalled to The Tennessean in 2013. Among other projects, Vanity Fair magazine reported, volunteers built 3,000 homes and 300 public buildings after an earthquake in Guatemala. He agreed, and when followers asked if they could accompany him, he said yes, provided they brought their own wheels and paid their own way. In 2004, he was inducted into High Times magazines Counterculture Hall of Fame. We never let anybody call it a commune because people who live on communes are communist, he told interviewers for the Journal for the Study of Radicalism in 2010. Goddess you are loved. "You went from everybody holding all things in common to you need your own car, you need your own health insurance you need to pay the rent, you need to join back into the society at large," said Kahan, who lived in the community for about 15 years before moving to Nashville. Gaskin, a Korean War veteran, was a writing instructor at San Francisco State College when his "Monday Night Class" on love, sex, politics, drugs and other non-traditional college topics became popular with hippie students.
Get the day's top news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning. In 1970, he led a caravan of about 320 hippies to 1,750 acres of rough ridge country where they founded the back-to-basics collective on about three square miles. Thanks Steven for the vision in welcoming all to the community. The Farm community members have not yet announced plans for Gaskin's funeral. Under Mr. Gaskins leadership, the commune did wide-ranging work through its humanitarian organization, Plenty International. They were among the earliest volunteers to arrive in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Early years: When the hippies first arrived in Tennessee, they lived out of tents until they could finish building homes, Gathering place: The Farm members gather in one of the commune's buildings in 1976, when about 800 lived in the community, Farm children: An unidentified member of The Farm poses with her child on September 2, 1976. Stephen, a mentor for myself and many. He died at home on Tuesday, surrounded by family. Businesses on The Farm include a publishing company and a firm that makes radiation detectors used by law enforcement agencies worldwide. Artificial birth control was forbidden.
Nothing is perfect, but the Farm was exactly what I needed to open my eyes to another way of thinking and being. (AP Photo/The Tennessean) (AP). However, there were unwritten agreements that often began with a nod to their source: Stephen says.. Mr. Gaskin served as a spiritual guide, preaching a philosophy that combined elements of Christianity with tenets of Eastern faiths. Farm Heroes Saga, the #4 Game on iTunes. Nine babies were born en route and delivered by a midwife named Ina May Middleton. Stephen F. Gaskin was born Feb. 16, 1935, in Denver. Among the dreams Gaskin never quite realized was a 100-acre retirement community aimed at aging hippies. 'And I said, "We're a collective.
You're down to earth sunday morning talks kept me emotionally rooted during a personal and historical time of turmoil. He mounted a successful court challenge to the law and had his voting rights restored. In addition to his wife, Gaskins survivors include two daughters, three sons and five grandchildren.
And when life became confusing I could always turn to Stephen's books for direction and clarity. He dropped out of high school to join the Marines in 1952. By Mr. Gaskins account, the Farm sprang in part from spiritual revelations he had experienced while using LSD, the details of which he described to thousands of disciples, who gathered in halls around San Francisco to hear his meditations on Buddhism, Jesus and whatever else entered his mind. Our community would not exist, were it not for his bravery and free spirit.'. To a degree that startled outsiders in the 60s, the Farms young men in straw hats and beards and women in long skirts lived an almost puritanical life. With some 300 wanderers seeking a vegetarian slice of rural paradise, Gaskin founded The Farm a community near Summertown, Tenn., that became one of the worlds largest and longest-lived hippie communes though he hated the term. They took vows of poverty and pooled their assets. More than 600 locals signed a petition protesting his three-year sentence, but to no avail. Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. (It now includes a retirement community. He has been a roving state correspondent and a columnist and reporter in the Ventura County edition. After the literature department declined to renew his contract, he began Monday Night Classes around San Francisco to delve more deeply into spiritual exotica. Im not a baby boomer; Im a beatnik. Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker. By 1980, The Farm was more than $600,000 in debt. Mr. Gaskin banned alcohol, tobacco and, to the surprise of many, LSD, though not marijuana. Among its most successful business endeavors is the sale of personal nuclear radiation-detection devices. But a financial crisis a few years later led to a reorganization in which members began paying monthly dues.