In the early 1970s, two hundred hippies from San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood resettled in rural Tennessee. They founded a vegetarian commune and agricultural operation called The Farm. With help from their neighbors and a psychedelic soundtrack from their house band, the back-to-landers got their social experiment off the ground and produced some of the first vegan cookbooks and commercial soy products in the United States.
The Farm outlived the Flower Power era to become a model of environmental sustainability and community farming that is still thriving nearly 50 years later. Producer Betsy Shepherd tells how tempeh, experimental rock, midwifery, and the antinuclear movement grew from a seed of West Coast counterculture planted in Southern soil.
Betsy Shepherd is a freelance writer, radio producer, and all-around music obsessive. She earned master’s degrees in ethnomusicology and journalism from Indiana University, and previously worked at The Oxford American magazine, the Archives of African American Music & Culture, and the nationally syndicated radio program American Routes. When she’s not cutting tape, Betsy is deejaying underground sounds and B-sides around New Orleans and on her favorite radio station, WWOZ.