Most new visitors to this site come for this post on my experiences at Zendik Farm, an intentional community of artists and assorted craftspeople I was part of from 1978 until 1991. The farm presented itself as a living laboratory for a way of living based on a feeling of reverence for the Earth.
Part of our strategy was to get journalists’ attention by being “good copy”. So when we arrived in the San Diego area, local TV crews saw us as good copy and took turns doing stories on our unusual lifestyle.
Meanwhile, my family was a bit apprehensive about my living situation. Knowing that they watched a lot of TV news, I assembled our recent TV coverage onto a VHS tape and mailed it to them. (That’s how it was done in the late 1980’s.) They wrote back that it relieved a lot of their concerns.
On a recent visit to my family, I found that tape. 35 years greatly exceeds the life expectancy of a home VHS tape, so the picture quality is marginal and there are a lot of glitches. But it effectively documents where I was living and the cause I was pursuing during a significant period of my life.
Even though Zendik Farm disbanded in 2013, it continues to attract interest. So in an effort to preserve the historical record, I posted the videos to YouTube and you can view them here…
There are four videos, and they are presented in chronological order.
In the summer of 1985, a TV crew came to visit the rented house in Imperial Beach (the southern-most beach town in California), where the core of the group was holed up while the Topanga Canyon location was being prepared for sale (4:08)…
In the spring of 1987, less than a year after settling into a farm near Boulevard, CA, the leaders of Zendik Farm were invited to appear on a San Diego area talk show “Stanley Tonight.” (34:09)
In the summer of 1987, a crew from San Diego spent some time at the farm to do a two-part report (both parts presented here). (11:07)
Later in 1987, this report on Zendik Farm was part of a half-hour program on “the 60’s”. Some of the scenes (for example, the outdoor work-list meeting) were staged for the cameras. (4:12)
Again, I apologize for the dodgy quality of the videos. But on the other hand… the recordings were made from an over-the-air signal 60 miles from the transmitter on primitive VHS equipment, then dubbed to another VHS tape that was mailed cross-country and sat in a drawer for 35 years. I feel lucky that the tape played at all.
Fun to see you as a young guy, Obbie. This stuff is priceless; a great exploration of the stereotypes that the culture of that time had about counter-culture people…and how the cultural norms felt most comfortable making “hippies” be ineffective and a bit of a joke. And yet, your friends kept making sense; even with silly questions coming to them. They were on target, of course.
Thanks, Ralph. The stereotyping was real, as was the obsession with anything related to sex.
One observation: The target era of nostalgia always seems to lag behind the present time by about twenty years (so in the 1980’s, everyone seemed to be obsessed with the 60’s). As young people grow to interact with the world on their own, their parents remember their own experiences with the world when they were the same age… about twenty years ago.