Join 3,523 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Stephen Gaskin bought the farm
July 2, 2014 9:19 PM   Subscribe

Stephen_Gaskin founder of The Farm, husband of renowned mid-wife, Ina May Gaskin died July 1st. Here's a good obituary. The search for the spiritual community life that culminated in the purchase of land outside Summertown, Tennessee began with Gaskin's Monday Night Class held in San Francisco in 1969 & 1970.

The Farm is known for sustainable living, Ina May Gaskin's Spiritual Midwifery and Plenty International, their international aid group along with everything else you could expect about communal living in the twentieth century.

From the Whole Earth Review:
Why We Left The Farm

From Vanity Fair:
Sex, Drugs and Soybeans

Three part long video interview

A recent documentary about growing up on the farm

And recent family trouble, involving his son's troubling Facebook posts
posted by readery (20 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
.
posted by librarina at 9:37 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:47 PM on July 2


Supposedly he was the basis for the Dead's St. Stephen
posted by destro at 10:03 PM on July 2


I heard Gaskin speak at The American Indian Center in Chicago around 1980. It was a wonderful and inspirational evening. We've all got to go sometime, but we lost one of the good guys this week.
posted by cleroy at 10:19 PM on July 2


I'm not sure whether to applaud or condemn you for this post title.
posted by sfkiddo at 10:43 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


Gaskin definitely was one of those guys who prove that 'one person can make a difference.' (Almost as much as his wife did.) And he managed a nice long run at two very difficult things: leading hippies, and farming.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:23 PM on July 2


Supposedly he was the basis for the Dead's St. Stephen


But neither Hunter, nor anyone else, has had anything positive to say about such speculation. Nope, it’s about the Christian martyr.

posted by telstar at 11:51 PM on July 2


I'm pretty sure Hunter is just gassing (never trust a prankster).

"One man gathers what another man spills"
For a time Gaskin's farm invited expecting women to have their
babies there, as opposed, I assume, to abortion.

I wasn't a big fan of the man myself, but he sure was charismatic.
A class-A number one primo dreamer.
posted by Chitownfats at 12:27 AM on July 3


"One man gathers what another man spills"
For a time Gaskin's farm invited expecting women to have their
babies there, as opposed, I assume, to abortion.


The Farm started in 1971. St. Stephen performed before live audiences in '68, released on album '69. Roe v. Wade in '73, by the way.
posted by telstar at 1:11 AM on July 3


This:

A recent documentary about growing up on the farm

seems to just link back to this page.

And the Whole Earth Review article reads just like life in communist Romania (down to the enlightened guru/leader figure and the lack of economic realism, but minus the secret police). It is incredible to me that someone would voluntarily live like this...
posted by miorita at 1:19 AM on July 3


Stephen's gatherings and preaching and caravans, and what he preached
to his followers, the "Monday Night Classes" etc., preceded the actual establishment of the farm. Abortions preceded Supreme Court deliberations by thousands of years.
posted by Chitownfats at 1:24 AM on July 3


Broken link for the documentary for me too.
posted by BinGregory at 3:12 AM on July 3


.
posted by MexicanYenta at 4:04 AM on July 3


Broken link has been fixed, thanks gnfti!
posted by readery at 5:54 AM on July 3


And the Whole Earth Review article reads just like life in communist Romania (down to the enlightened guru/leader figure and the lack of economic realism, but minus the secret police). It is incredible to me that someone would voluntarily live like this...


I know people who lived on The Farm. People who grew up there. I know people who were brought into this world with the help of Ina May. Believe what you want but it certainly wasn't communist Romania, and that analogy is kinda offensive to both people who suffered under the iron thumb of Ceausescu and the happy healthy people I know who look back fondly on their childhood at The Farm.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:21 AM on July 3 [4 favorites]


Yeah my experience is less direct but I'll put in a good word. My mom and dad almost hopped on the caravan when it rolled through Ann Arbor. My mother later went down to the farm to further her midwifery skills with Ina May. I and my sisters (and my daughter for that matter ) were born at home at least in part through the good work of the Farm. Steve may not have been the better half (or quarter) of that relationship but I'll pay my respects anyway.


.
posted by BinGregory at 7:18 AM on July 3


My folks still have an old copy of Hey Beatnik, their house publication. What a trip finding that was! I wonder if there is an archive of those on the Web anywhere...?
posted by BinGregory at 7:21 AM on July 3


Hey look, Hey Beatnik is available for download here .
posted by BinGregory at 7:25 AM on July 3 [3 favorites]


For a time Gaskin's farm invited expecting women to have their babies there, as opposed, I assume, to abortion.

I know nothing about Gaskin beyond what I've read here, but I'm failing to see how this would be problematic, unless he was haranguing or pressuring women to come give birth at The Farm. I'm vehemently pro-choice, but offering women an additional option to choose from seems like a good thing.
posted by nixxon at 6:02 PM on July 3


For a time Gaskin's farm invited expecting women to have their babies there,

The Gaskins (plural) have always welcomed women to give birth at The Farm. Women are still welcome to have babies on The Farm.

as opposed, I assume, to abortion.

True enough, though I believe that invitation was issued by Ina. And while abortion is prohibited on The Farm itself, Ina May's focus has always been on giving women education and options around birth. Whatever their personal opinions around abortion, I've never seen evidence of either of them advocating against abortion rights.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:41 AM on July 6


« Older (All links are safe for everyone unless you don't ...  |  The New Yorker investigates th... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments