January 29th, 2015
This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.
Hey Beatnik! this is the Farm book by Stephen Gaskin is a tutorial on all things hippy and counterculture. Gaskin, founder of “The Farm” in Tennessee, was a famous leader in the Haight-Ashbury circles of San Francisco and eventually became a green party presidential candidate in 2000. This book, published a few years after the founding of The Farm, is a guide to living independently and at one with nature and community. Some sections describe practical tasks such as farming and spiritual midwifery while other sections describe more intangible goals such as community harmony and love. Gaskin even goes as far as to offer construction and building advice as well as including nutrition charts and information in order to ensure that the vegetarian lifestyle is properly addressed.
Some of the advice in this book is surprising given the context. In the section on healing, a discussion of the importance of spiritual health and telepathic healing is paired with the caveat that “if something is mechanically wrong with your bod, go see a doctor.” Generally a book about feeling good and living in harmony, there is enough practical advice in this book that it works as a guide to successfully setting up and maintaining a commune. Filled with pictures of life on the farm, this book is an interesting insight into hippy culture of the 1970s.
Hey beatnik! : this is the Farm book by Stephen and the Farm / Summertown, Tenn. : Book Pub. Co., ©1974 is available in Widener’s collection. Several other books by Stephen Gaskin are also in the Santo Domingo Collection including Amazing dope tales / Berkeley, Calif. : Ronin, 1999, The caravan / [New York] Random House , and Cannabis spirituality : including the 13 guidelines for sanity and safety / New York : High Times Books, 1996.
Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.