Last updated: September 12, 2012 (1 year ago)
Listing created on: December 31, 1999

The Farm

(Summertown, Tennessee, United States)

  • Status: Established
  • Formed: 1970  Established: 1971
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Website address: http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/
  • Phone: 931-964-3574
  • Address:
    34 The Farm
    Summertown, Tennessee, 38483-9626
    United States
  • Visitor Process

    Visitors accepted: Yes
    We welcome scheduled visits and tours. Please write or call. The community is actively seeking new members and residents. Check us out! The best way to visit is to participate in one of our Farm Experience Weekends and other events by GreenLife Retreats, which include a history slide show, tour, community work project, workshops, and entertainment. www.greenliferetreats.com

  • Membership Process

    Open to new Members: Yes

Mission Statement:

Spirituality & social change

Community Description:

The Farm is an intentional community of families and friends living on 1,750 acres in south-central Tennessee. Since its inception in 1971, the purpose of The Farm community has been to provide a secure, ecologically healthy, commonly held land base for its members and succeeding generations. It is a place where we can relate to each other and the natural environment in a sustainable way, draw upon the collective strength of the community, and contribute to the positive transformation of the world.

The Farm is a spiritual community but follows no specific doctrine. Founded on the principles of nonviolence and respect for the earth, there is general agreement that all world religions share essential truths that are the moral guideposts for sanity and happiness.

Over its 40+ year history, The Farm community has created numerous nonprofit organizations as part of its mission to create positive change in the world. These include Plenty International (international aid), Kids To the Country (brings at-risk children to the Farm), The Ecovillage Training Center (sustainability education), Swan Conservation Trust (1425-acre nature preserve), PeaceRoots Alliance (global peace movement), and More Than Warmth (students creating peace quilts sent to children around the world), and many more. The Farm is probably best known for its midwifery program in which the sacrament of birth is considered as an inherent right of all women, newborns, and families. Both basic and advanced midwifery workshops take place throughout the year.

Approximately 200 residents and over 20 Farm businesses contribute to the maintenance and operation of the community. The community is managed by an elected board of directors along with a variety of committees staffed by volunteers. The Farm Education/Conference Center hosts conferences and is the umbrella organization for the Farm School, which offers alternative education to both resident and neighboring school-age students. GreenLife Retreats is the host of The Farm Experience Weekend and a variety of other events and activities that give visitors a more in depth way to learn about community life.

Population

  • Adult Members: 180
  • Child Members: 20
  • Non-member Residents: 25
  • Percent Women: 51-60%
  • Percent Men: 41-49%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Additional Comments: Broad agreements but no single spiritual doctrine. Open to all religions and practices.

    Hippie Zen Buddhism

    Parents pay an annual fee per student to attend The Farm School. Work/teaching exchange is also utilized in lieu of payment.

Social Factors

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Native American, Buddhist, Paganism/Earth Religions, Eastern, Quaker, Sufi, Jewish, Eclectic (integrates pieces from many religions)
  • Education Style(s): Home Schooling, Private Schooling at the Community, Public Schooling

Government

  • Decision Making: By a Community Leader
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments: The majority of residents have lived in the community 20+ years. However new residents are able and are encouraged to participate equally

    We use consensus whenever possible, especially in smaller committees.

Land and Buildings

  • Housing Provided: Yes, for all or most members.
  • Location: Rural, Rural
  • Area: 1750 acres
  • Land owned by: Independent land trust (not controlled by the community)
  • Current number of residences: 70
  • Additional Comments: Several residences utilize a co-housing model

Labor and Money

  • Required Labor contribution: No
  • Join Fee: 0
  • Regular Fee: 0
  • Additional Comments: The 1750 acre property is owned collectively by members. The community has an extensive infrastructure that is maintained and operated through monthly member dues. All buildings and residences are owned by the community, but members generate equity in their homes through personal investment.

    All membership applications include a financial review.

    Participation in community projects and events is very encouraged.

    $3,000 per adult is requested after a an approximately 2 year provisonal membership period

    Members and residents contribute monthly an amount ranging from $85to $125 per person

Diet

  • Shared meals: About once a week
  • Current food produced: Up to 25%
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Not at all important – people may eat however they individually choose.
  • Dietary Practice: Mostly Vegan
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used seldomly, or ceremoniously.
  • Additional comments: Meals are prepared during the school year by students and parents as a fundraiser for the school or other nonprofits.

    The community tries to avoid rules and restictions however most memjbers are vegetarian.

    The community was founded on a .vegan diet and most members are currently vegetarian or vegan. No animals may be raised for slaughter on the property.

    This is up to personal choice but abuse is discouraged.

    The community avoids the impositions of rules, however tobacco use is considered unhealthy and was prohibited in the early years.

Video Gallery

[youlist vid="75LxOOoCrnk" width="720" height="480"]

Keywords

solar, retreats, workshops, Stephen Gaskin, Ina May Gaskin

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We happily link to the following organizations, all of whom share our strong commitment to promoting community and a more cooperative world:
Cohousing The Federation of Egalitarian Communities - Communes Coop Community Cooperative Sustainable Intentional North American Students of Cooperation Global Ecovillage Network
Special thanks to the sponsors of our Art of Community Events.
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