Paperback 424 pages, 40 photos, inspirational gems from Plato to Leonard Cohen to Jerry Garcia
Where have all the flower children gone? Gone to a far-out 1,500-member, vegan, spiritual hippie commune hidden away in the backwoods of Tennessee. True adventures of a sixties reporter who followed the times over the edge in pursuit of enlightenment and adventure.
“Imagine all the people living life in peace.” That was us. We had it going.
Now in the Trump Era, a time of much fear, anxiety, division, growing sense of chaos and despair; a time when world peace has been severely shaken as if there had been a massive hydrogen bomb explosion—not a physical bomb, but a psychic-mental-emotional bomb that attacks human minds and hearts; attacks how we feel and what we think. Experiences described in Voluntary Peasants may provide a laugh a smile, some relief from all the stress. Voluntary Peasants presents options in dealing with the threats and challenges we all face today. Presented with heart and humor.
The magical sixties come alive in this entertaining multi-level history/memoir. Imagine living as a “voluntary peasant” in America’s quintessential hippie commune. Voluntary Peasants transmits ‘60s energy, vibes, mindscape and philosophy. Beyond sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll—beyond hippies, true tales of a remarkable experiment in collective living as thousands of high-minded people join forces, pool resources and attempt to create a sustainable lifestyle the world can afford.
Leave the ordinary. Let your head soar free and take a trip—a ‘60s trip out of the box. Stiriss takes the reader on an extraordinary journey from Greenwich Village beatniks in the ‘50s through the ‘60s and ‘70s—opening doors to reveal inner realms of those heady, revolutionary times—times rich in lessons that can possibly help us now and save the world.
A remarkable story and entertaining read that explores the psyche and nuts & bolts of how to make it through dangerous times and enjoy a good life on a super low-budget. Includes vingettes of personal and group transformation.
Stiriss—“I co-founded and lived thirteen years in America’s biggest commune not undercover but as a full-fledged member of the hippie collective, living the dream, “saving the world.” The idea of writing about the experience came after when I realized the importance of reporting behind-the-scenes, everyday observations of one of the most-amazing social experiments to come out of that far-out era.”
Enter what may seem another world—an audacious attempt to create a better way of life—an Earth-friendly, people-friendly, pacifist, eclectic, agrarian, vegan, spiritual community and pioneering cannabis church—a commune awarded the Swedish Right Livelihood Award—“For caring, sharing and acting with and on behalf of those in need at home and abroad.”
An example of The Farm’s humanitarian outreach: the author worked a year with Mayans and a crew from the community in remote mountain villages after a devastating earthquake in Guatemala—building schools, clinics, houses and a clinic for Mother Teresa.
Over the collective’s 13 years, 5,000 people lived and worked together as “voluntary peasants” sharing labor, life and friendship—living a path with heart—working without pay—to create a globally-affordable, simple, gracious, sustainable lifestyle. The Farm was a grassroots, 24/7 peace demonstration.
We built our own little town—a village complete with houses, roads, farming, construction, motor pool, soy dairy, clinic, lab, doctors, midwives, bakery, cottage industries, FM radio station, solar-heated school, a dozen satellite communities and humanitarian outreach projects around the world. At peak—1,450 people enjoyed Zero Unemployment, Universal Healthcare, and all necessities on a little more than $100/person a month!”
Includes the author’s deeply personal spiritual student-teacher relationship with cult guru Stephen Gaskin, who taught and preached about God, “how the Universe works,” telepathy, energy, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and Allah. The pot-smoking, magic mushroom-eating guru cast a broad world wisdom eclectic message to capture the hearts and minds of desperately searching disenchanted Christians and Jews, turning conventional people into hippies. We also examine the whole “guru trip” and the phenomenon of groupthink.
Melvyn speaks to all groups interested in learning about The Farm, living collectively and going back to the land.
Voluntary Peasantswill be in print May 1
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Voluntary Peasants is also available as a 6-part ebook series here