Born on a commune

Over at Vanity Fair, Erika Anderson writes about growing up on The Farm, the famed Tennessee commune founded in 1971:

i.1.s-the-farm-commune While men worked in the fields, or off The Farm to earn money, women had weekly or biweekly “house days.” One or two women would look after the kids in their home, make meals and do the laundry if they could. Then they would spend the other days of the week working in the community, outside the home. “I got to have a varied life,” my mom has said. “That was one of the things you missed when you moved away. But it was the only thing you missed.” That and friends, who had all but become family.

The Farm was not a farm in name only, or it wasn’t meant to be. The farming crew planted staples like soybeans, corn, and sorghum, among other crops. But the harvest couldn’t support the whole community, and kids went hungry, my sisters included. Two months after I was born, on July 11, 1980, state police showed up to bust the commune for growing marijuana, when in fact the city kids didn’t know how to identify marijuana. What had looked like pot from their helicopter was in fact ragweed, flourishing in row after row. That miscalculation became an annual celebration known as Ragweed Day.

"What Life Is Like When You’re Born on a Commune" (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)