Stephen Gaskin, Founder of the Farm

The Farm, once home to famed fanzine letterhack Robert Lichtman, was started by Stephen Gaskin.

Gaskin died on July 1. The New York Times’ report of his death begins:

Stephen Gaskin, a Marine combat veteran and hippie guru who in 1971 led around 300 followers in a caravan of psychedelically painted school buses from San Francisco to Tennessee to start the Farm, a commune that has outlived most of its countercultural counterparts while spreading good works from Guatemala to the South Bronx, died on Tuesday at his home on the commune, in Summertown, Tenn. He was 79.

I was struck by the fannish peroration that ended Gaskin’s appeal for the Green Party’s presidential nomination in 2000 (which he lost by a wide margin to Ralph Nader):

I want it to be understood that we are a bunch of tree-huggers and mystics and peaceniks. My main occupations are Hippy Priest, Spiritual Revolutionary, Cannabis Advocate, shade tree mechanic, cultural engineer, tractor driver and community starter. I also love science fiction.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the link.]