The Evolution of The Farm Community

Douglas Stevenson

In 1971, more than three hundred hippie idealists—in a caravan of sixty brightly painted school buses and assorted other vehicles—landed on an abandoned farm in central Tennessee. They had a mission: to be a part of something bigger than themselves, to follow a peaceful and spiritual path, and to make a difference in the world.

Out to Change the World tells the story of how those hippies established The Farm, one of the largest and longest-lasting intentional communities in the United States. Starting with the 1960s’ Haight-Ashbury scene where it all began, continuing through the changeover from commune to collective, and culminating with the present, this is the first complete account of The Farm’s origins, inception, growth, and evolution. By turns inspiring, cautionary, triumphant, and wistful, it’s a captivating narrative from start to finish.

"This book is a chronicle of one of America’s best-known intentional communities. Douglas describes extraordinary events in plain language, unfolding a compelling story of hope, sacrifice, disillusion- ment, and recovery. Although those involved with The Farm were out to change the world, Douglas reveals that in the end they were as touched by the magic of the The Farm experience as those far beyond their borders.”
—Laird Schaub, Executive Secretary Fellowship for Intentional Community

“For its hundreds of core members, The Farm was a spiritual commitment or a social experiment, depending on your viewpoint. For Douglas, it was and still is the ideal rural lifestyle. His personal story is both a shared community history and a fascinating personal journey from which we can all learn.”
—Cliff Figallo, Founding member of The Farm and The WELL online community

“Out to Change the World is not only an impassioned story of a brave, committed group creating something extraordinary but also a wonderful entry point for understanding the communities movement today. Although I was already familiar with The Farm’s story, I found myself engrossed in each chapter, as the narrative is both absorbing and filled with heart. Any aficionado of the communities movement, or anyone who’s simply curious about what it takes to start or live in a community, will enjoy Out to Change the World.”
—Diana Leafe Christian, author of Creating a Life Together and Finding Community

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