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As It Was: Philadelphia Shakers Open Alpha Farm in 1972

Six social activists from Philadelphia with Shaker backgrounds founded Alpha Farm in the Coast Range west of Eugene, Ore.  The group bought a 280-acre farm in 1972 and left urban life behind in favor of a rural, intentional community.

The Alpha Farm residents have pooled their resources and done a variety of jobs in addition to farming.  For 46 years they have delivered the mail on a 90-mile rural route.  In nearby Mapleton, the Alpha-bit Café and bookstore became a hang-out for locals, truck drivers, and tourists before closing after 44 years.  The variety of enterprises brought them closer to the broader community.

Caroline Estes, the only original founder still at Alpha Farm, became an expert in consensus building, the decision-making model used by the community.  She taught company and organization personnel around the country how to give everyone a stake in decisions.

Alpha Farm has had from five to 35 residents over the years devoted to living in peace and harmony with themselves, other people, and the earth.
 

Source: "Alpha Farm." Directory of Intentional Communities, Foundation for Intentional Communities, 2019, www.ic.org/directory/alpha-farm/.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.