Franklin Sanders on the farmOur film team traveled to Alabama and Tennessee last week for our Southern US film tour, and we had the pleasure of visiting with and learning from Franklin Sanders – grandfather, farmer, pastor, community leader, precious metals expert, and author of several books about going back to the land.

Franklin and his family live in middle Tennessee near the Alabama border, and have been building a family farm and integrated agrarian community for over a decade.  He has written a financial newsletter focused on gold and silver called The Moneychanger for over 30 years, and has recently published the first book of a three volume series that chronicles his family’s journey from the city to the country and the increased self-reliance and community that has resulted.

At Home in Dogwood Mudhole, so-called for the name of his rural location, provides a captivating and humorous retelling of his family life and challenges they faced moving towards agrarian community life.  The book has been called “the agrarian epic” and Joel Salatin says it’s “at once hilarious, humbling, and holy…”  Our supporters who pitch in $75 or more will receive a copy of the book while supplies last (in addition to other great supporter rewards).

At Home in Dogwood Mudhole

During our time with Franklin, we visited his family homestead where they have built four houses for his children and other family members, firmly establishing a sense of place there for his family.  He showed us the piece of land that his family purchased a few years ago and how they’ve cleared the land of the scrub brush and are rehabilitating it into productive pasture for their grazing animals.

Franklin Sanders farm - preparing to film

His sons Justin and Wright, now fathers of their own families, took a break from moving their Highland cattle to talk to us about their experience growing up in a family that was in process of going back to the land, and the blessings that have resulted in their family establishing a place to call home in the country.

Franklin took us to the church building that his congregation built using local materials and primarily with the use of their own labor.  He talked about the importance of the church being central to community life, and how his church is working to be a light for the gospel of Christ and rural community renewal.

Franklin Sanders' church

His professional expertise is in precious metals trading, so he provided us some fantastic perspective on our current economic maladies and how we need to reduce our involvement in the failing modern economy by eliminating debt and working towards building family industries and local economies to replace the current system.  Look for some insightful video clips on this topic that we’ll be posting soon.

Franklin is a unique man – one wise to the ways of the modern world but who rightly rejects the overcomplicated and centralized solutions that have been implemented and which are causing our ruin as a nation and people.  To regain our liberty and vitality as families and communities, he says we need to work together to develop productive families and local community interdependence.

The answer to the cause of the problems of our day caused by centralization is simple: Decentralization.  Build family, church, and community first.  Go back to the old paths, then a transformation will begin that will build from the bottom up.