Will and Agnes Gould established Gould Farm in 1913 as a healing community in the Berkshire hills of Massachusetts. They welcomed guests who were experiencing emotional and psychiatric vulnerabilities to join them, working on the farm and sharing the joys and challenges of daily life in a kind, healthy community.
Soon psychiatric hospitals in Boston and New York were referring patients to Gould Farm for treatment. Will was quoted in an article about the Farm that appeared in The New York Times in 1921: “Too often had the mistake been made of taking people out to the country and leaving them there in the hope that just the change of environment would work a miraculous cure. What people needed, especially people who were unhappy and depressed, was to have the country interpreted to them by showing them where they fitted into the scheme of things.” He wanted to help people find their place of belonging and to bring back the desire of living and working to people who had lost it. (Gould Farm: A Life of Sharing, William J. McKee, 1994)
As the years have passed, life on the farm has stayed true to its roots, even as the farm’s social mission has become more refined. Services today target those with a serious mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar and depression. Our program is licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health as a Residential Treatment Program. In addition, our work program has grown to include social enterprises such as the Harvest Barn Bakery and the Roadside Café. Our 700 acres have been designated as a Model Forest by the Forest Guild, recognizing our commitment to sustainable forest and land management practices.
Even as things have changed over time, some things remain the same today as 100 years ago: animals are tended and cared for, food is grown and shared, people live together in a caring, supportive community. And hope and recovery are the daily harvest at Gould Farm.