Voluntary Peasants will be in print this September, and we will soon be taking preorders.
Melvyn Stiriss speaks about his far-out experiences and lessons learned that offer viable alternatives for these dangerous, challenging times. Melvyn speaks to college and university classes, libraries, groups and organizations.
CAUTION! This book may blow your mind or cause FlashBack. Voluntary Peasants will at least entertain and transport you, make you laugh and transmit ‘60s energy, vibes and mindscape, focusing on living 13 years as a “voluntary peasant” in America’s ultimate hippie commune, The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee.
True tales of a remarkable experiment in collective living as thousands of good-hearted, high-minded people join forces, pool resources and attempt to create a sustainable, in-touch-with-the-Earth lifestyle the world can afford. Far-out life adventures in the joys of sharing and helping others.
A remarkable history 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 stories and vingettes of extraordinary personal and group transformation.
Leave the ordinary. Let your head soar free and take a trip—a ‘60s trip over the edge. 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 help us now, as we explore the now relevant question: Can back-to-the-land, friendly collective living save the world?
“Imagine all the people living life in peace.”—John Lennon. “That was us! We had it going.”
Beyond sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll—beyond hippies. Journalist/humorist Melvyn Stiriss was a UPI reporter who followed the story of the times over the edge to live the story himself.
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 and enter The Farm—a remarkable bold attempt to “get out of the box” and 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 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!”
Voluntary Peasants 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 group think.
Voluntary Peasants will be in print September, 2017
About the Author
In the ’60s, Melvyn Stiriss was a young United Press International wire service reporter who followed the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times, over the edge. “There was an exciting, all-pervasive feeling, an intriguing, mysterious energy that beckoned me. I followed that ‘vibe’ in search of fun, adventure, and enlightenment.” His vision quest brought him to San Francisco where he found his weed-smoking, world wisdom spouting, self-proclaimed guru, Stephen Gaskin.”
Melvyn lives in upstate New York, enjoying his “senior career” as an author, publisher, storyteller, and aspiring movie maker. He loves hiking, playing keyboard, photography, travel, movies, and great literature.
Voluntary Peasants is available in a six-part series here and at Amazon Kindle.
Enlightenment—What’s it Good For
Author’s back story 1942-69
Or buy from Amazon to read on Kindle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008BWV0US
Part 1 Genesis of The Farm Commune
Includes the great, round-the-country, save-the-world, hippie bus caravan
$2.99 PDF here
Part 2 The Farm Commune—Year One
Or read on Kindle
Part 3, THE FARM—America’s Biggest Commune, 1972-76
Hippie Peace Corps Goes to Guatemala
Or for Kindle
Part 5, Utopia Myopia
Climax and Conclusion
Or read on Kindle
The whole 535-page story in ebook
Voluntary Peasants will be available in print this September