_Click through the gallery to learn more about what life is like on the Farm. And be sure to watch American Journey, hosted by Ty Pennington, Saturday, December 29th night at 8 p.m. ET on HLN. _
Ever dream about saying goodbye to the rat race and leaving it all behind? Well, hundreds of people did just that, giving up just about everything to rough it in The Middle of Nowhere, Tennessee, in 1971.
They set up shop on a plot of land, using army tents and buses for shelter. They farmed for their own food and did odd jobs in town for extra money. All profits were shared equally. Food was shared equally, too, given out in rations. The original 320 settlers grew into more than 1,000.
But, it turns out that no matter how idealistic you are, living on a commune does have its challenges. By the early 1980s, the Farm was in debt and struggling to survive. It couldn't afford to support everyone. Something had to be done. So in 1983, the Farm switched from being a commune to being a co-op. It was called "the Changeover" and it probably saved the Farm from extinction. Everyone now pays a monthly fee to live there, much like an HOA. But any money an individual earns is theirs to keep, or theirs to donate to the community.
After the Changeover, the Farm began to thrive once again. But its numbers never really recovered. Today, about 150 people still live there. Some original members, some new ones. Some of them are people who grew up and moved away but decided to move back to raise their families.
So will the Farm survive another 40 years? We talked to a lot of people on the Farm who certainly hope so. But it's the young people there that will have to make it happen.