By Jessica Mercer,
What comes to your mind when you think about The Farm community? Do you imagine a group of people living in tents and wearing tie-dye? Those were some misconceptions that I held about The Farm community before I had the opportunity to interview someone who has lived on The Farm for decades, Douglas Stevenson. Douglas showed me that The Farm isn’t what people often expect, and that the people who live on The Farm aren’t all that different from me.
Douglas and his wife moved to The Farm in 1973. Before coming to Tennessee, he had previously lived in Kentucky. He felt drawn to The Farm because it was filled with individuals who shared his beliefs about peace and preserving nature. Douglas was only nineteen at the time, but he wanted to change the world.
In 1978, Douglas and his wife traveled to Guatemala for a relief project with Plenty International that helped those who were affected by the disastrous earthquake that occurred in 1976. Douglas stayed in Guatemala for two years doing relief work. While in Guatemala, he used a ham radio to communicate with others at The Farm. His interest in communications later led him to install satellites all over the globe and to write articles for Satellite Retailers Magazine.
The establishment of Swan Conservation Trust has been a priority for Douglas and many others on The Farm. This land trust was crated to preserve the acres of land around Big Swan Creek. Douglas believes that nature is our most valuable resource in Tennessee, and that it should be protected.
Douglas Stevenson is a very accomplished man who has led a unique life. He has authored three books and over a thousand newsletters. He and his wife of forty-six years have two children and three grandchildren. He embodies The Farm’s “hippie” values in that he likes to give back, and he gets fulfillment from doing good deeds.
For 40 years he has been on the cutting edge of alternative lifestyle and technology. An entrepreneur, he started Village Media in 1981, a small business that provides video, web and other communications services for companies and nonprofits throughout the U.S. He is a founding member of Peace Roots Alliance, a singer/songwriter, an activist and a speaker.
At the end of the day, The Farm community is different from the rest of Lewis County in some ways, but the people at The Farm want the same things as the rest of us. They want to live a lifestyle that they believe in, take care of their families and leave this world better than they found it.
Jessica Mercer is a local high school student and emerging journalist. This is article is part of a series entitled, Meeting in the Middle.