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 social service agencies in Boston and New York were referring people 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. 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.
Today, Gould Farm is recognized as a model treatment program that has been replicated in the United States and influenced programs in Canada, Denmark, Ireland, and Australia to name a few.