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Organic Gardening

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A New Blogger at The Farm Community

As a new blogger for MOTHER EARTH NEWS, I thought it might be a good idea for me to introduce myself and share a little bit of my unique story with you.

Douglas Stevenson and Deborah Flowers

In the early 70’s my high school sweetheart and I picked up the first issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS and became part of the back to the land movement. We dove in head first and never looked back.

Mother Earth News No 1

In the aftermath of the turbulent 60’s, it became apparent that change would not come to the world through politics. Our goal became not to take over the government, but to take over the government’s function, taking care of ourselves in every way we could. This meant getting land, growing our own food, building our own home, caring for our medical needs, and becoming as independent as possible.

At the same time, we saw that the life of a homesteader can be a very isolated existence. We wanted to be close to nature, but still involved in influencing society at large. We did not want to give up social interaction with friends, the joy of music, and the richness of life found through community.

In 1973, at the age of 19 and newly married, my sweetheart/now wife and I became part of one of the most dynamic and successful experiments in a back-to-the-land lifestyle, known simply as The Farm. We joined up with several hundred others of our generation on 1,700 acres in the backwoods of Tennessee to carry forward our vision of a better way for humanity to live in harmony and lightly on the earth. Now some forty years later, we are still here.

weeding crew on The Farm

Here at The Farm, we have learned a lot about growing food, building green, stewarding land, and most of all, the leverage to be gained when people work together. I will be blogging about all of this in the coming months.

The Farm Community was featured in Mother Earth News articles several times in the early days. 

The Plowboy Interview: Stephen Gaskin and The Farm Read more:" target="_blank">Stephen Gaskin and The Farm, May 1977

Communal Life: A Look at The Farm in Summertown TN, March 1980

Those were quite some time ago and over the decades there have been many changes. Our current incarnation as a community is more relevant today than ever, with many different aspects that may resonate with you. I wanted to use this forum to share with you a little bit about the community as it is today and pass on what we’ve learned to this current wave of people seeking a more sustainable life, what we call “like minded folks.” The Farm’s mission has always been to serve as a model for what is possible and to inspire others to follow their dreams. A BIG THANKS to MEN for giving me this opportunity to communicate with you!

To learn more about The Farm, as well as my personal story, consider picking up a copy of my book, Out to Change the World, the evolution of The Farm Community.

Out to Change the World

My second book takes a deeper look at the building blocks of community, including our government, how we earn a living, our community health care, growing food, ecovillages, permaculture and more.

The Farm Then and Now

I will be speaking and giving a slide show presentation about my life at The Farm at the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, PA, September 12-14

and in Topeka, Kansas, October 25-26

I hope to meet you there! More to come! Questions? Comments? Feel free to write to me at