Back in San Francisco, the success of our little vegetarian restaurant, The Here And Now, attracted Si Furman, who liked what we were doing and was looking for someone to take over his restaurant in Mill Valley. It sounded good to us, so we took him up on his offer. In 1969, we opened the Mustard Seed Natural Food Restaurant in the Town & Country Shopping Center in Mill Valley and moved to Larkspur, a short drive from there, where we rented a very large house that had previously been a convalescent home.
Beautiful, green, and at that time, peaceful Marin County, with its fresh air and wooded hills, was a welcome change from the city. When it became known in the community that we were an “extended family,” an effort was made to have us evicted based on a statute in the city charter. With Uni’s help once again, and with the donated assistance of an attorney friend, we protested, and the city lost their case.
The Mustard Seed was in an attractive setting in the Shopping Center and the first vegetarian restaurant in Marin County. We were an immediate success, with people coming from all over the County to eat our pure, natural food and enjoy our high vibes. We had been successfully operating the restaurant for almost two years when we were forced to move out. The shopping center was under pressure from a large status quo business investor, worried about our revolutionary ideas and hippy-looking customers, especially the young man with a monkey sitting at an outdoor table. They were able to evict us based on a small technicality in the lease, which, of course, they had ignored when they wanted our business.
Just prior to our eviction from the Mustard Seed, our friend Si once again came to us with the proposal that we take over The Forum, a large restaurant that he and his partner, Franco, had been operating on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. It was in the same magical way everything was working for us in those days, and we accepted his offer.
Michael, Bob, Bin and I went to Berkeley (or, Berzerkly, as we fondly called it) to begin setting up our natural food service next to Franco’s coffee house in the building that had formerly been a supermarket. The restaurant space was about four times the size of our little Mustard Seed in Mill Valley, and we really got into cooking large quantities of food in a hurry. Frankie had retained the front of the restaurant to serve espresso coffee, and soon the Forum’s steady flow of customers, who were still meat-eaters, dwindled to a trickle.
We rented a large fraternity house, formerly the Acacia House, a block up the hill from the restaurant on Piedmont Avenue, and the rest of the family in Larkspur joined us there. It was quite a contrast to peaceful Marin County, and we buckled into the frantic pace as we operated our communal free enterprise natural food service, “The Mustard Seed,” alongside Franco’s espresso coffeehouse. After a few months, we found Franco’s less-than-honorable way of operating in the getting-for-self consciousness so incompatible with our communal sharing ways, we were forced to move out. The arrangement with Frankie had proven to be very difficult for us to balance and we weren’t too sorry to leave. The only thing about the move was that we had an exceptionally large family to house, clothe and feed.
Following our departure from the Forum, our community services took a more varied form. We found a bakery that was having financial problems, so that in return for painting and cleaning up the bakery in the afternoon, an unbelievable mess, we were allowed to use the facilities for our own baking. We sold our bread and pastries to health food stores all over Berkeley and our Sunflower/Sesame Seed Whole Wheat Bread had the reputation of being “the best bread in town.”
During this time, we took in boarders, prepared vegetarian dinner parties, catered and played music at churches, fairs and schools. It was a new adventure, and as representatives of our Universal Industrial Church, Thera and I occasionally had a lark obtaining donations of food at the large produce market in Oakland.
With such high rents and so many people to feed, it became clear that we were rightful recipients of Welfare funding. We felt that to participate in the buying and selling wage-slave system of usury money would defeat our purpose in being here, and that we could no longer function at that level of consciousness and carry out our communal democracy demonstration to teach the truth of sharing.
We could see that the Godmind had set up the Social Security System so that spiritual revolutionaries would be able to drop out of the backwards, ungodly system and have their basic needs met while fulfilling their mission. So, we individually applied for Supplemental Security Income, SSI, based on our heightened state of awareness and our inability to stay balanced and function in the vibration of the lower energies of the status quo system. It is clear to us that because of our spiritual motivation and our righteousness, with Uni’s help, we were granted the Social Security benefits, as have many others since then who have recognized the truth of sharing. This has made it possible for us to continue our demonstration, maintain our sharing/serving relationship all of these years, and to bring Allen Michael and the Everlasting Gospel to the people thru our publications, video productions, speaking engagements and now, through the Internet at www.galacticmessenger.com, we are live online 24/7/365 for the World People!
The One World Family Natural Food Center
A short time after we had moved out of the Forum, we were surprised by a contact from Dr. Humphreys, the principal lease-holder of the building. He had bought Frankie out, and because he respected Allen Michael and what we were doing, asked us if we would like to reopen our restaurant with a long-term lease.
We agreed and opened the One World Family Natural Food Center on Telegraph Avenue for the second time in March of ’72 and, for the following three years, we continued remodeling and adding to the Center. We added a bakery and pizzeria in the rear of the building, a large entertainment hall with stage next to the restaurant, and in the front of the building, our Far Outfits handmade, airbrushed clothing shop.
It was a great experience for everyone, participating with AM on the remodeling, a master craftsman with years of carpentry, cabinet making and set designing experience. For Allen, it was a valuable lesson in learning to direct many activities at one time and balancing out the frustration of working with people inexperienced in the field.
The corner of Telegraph and Haste was a kaleidoscope of energies and the central “dealing” spot on Telegraph Avenue. Musicians and “street people” gathered outside, and Hari Krishna devotees danced in and out of the Center, spreading light and joy with their symbols and songs. It was the same corner where police tear gassed the rioting UC students during their demonstration over “People’s Park,” which was located behind us in the same block.
In addition to the natural food restaurant, the Center contained a pizzeria, a bakery, an entertainment hall and our Far Outfits shop, where we sold our airbrushed, handmade clothing. Our weekends were filled with music and dancing to our band, Quazar, our other musical groups and local bands. The highlight of the week was our Thursday Evenings of Enlightenment, with Allen Michael channeling from Galactica the ways and means of bringing about social and planetary transformation.
Our older children took part in the restaurant operation and we had the wonderful experience of being able to share with all of the children the singing and dancing which were an integral part of our lives. Hundreds of New Age youth were attracted to our energies during the four years we were in Berkeley. They came and went, learning from us and we from them, helping with our giant undertaking of providing the community and ourselves with a beautiful New Age Natural Food and Entertainment Center. We all contributed our love services freely and no wages were ever paid.
Coordinating the shift schedule was a challenge as well as a rewarding experience in learning to stay balanced while dealing with different needs and personalities. Each of us committed ourselves to a five hour per day Love Service shift, rotating between the food service shifts which kept our cash flow coming in and childcare, meals, housecleaning, buying, publications, promotions, gardening, musical performance, sewing, airbrushing and woodshop.
According to our autonomous self-government structure, each person chooses themselves to be. Without thought of reward, we willingly give our services where needed and in whatever area our abilities lie, to provide our daily needs. The cash flow from our various “schools of experience,” such as natural food restaurants, bakery, clothing shop, woodcrafts, video, publications, promotions, musical performances and recording has been used to maintain and expand the various Schools of Experience and continue publication of the Everlasting Gospel. In recent years, with a much smaller communal group, our creative projects have narrowed down to video production and book and newsletter publishing.
During our five years in Berkeley, we moved up the hill behind our Center, block by block up Haste Street. Following the Acacia House on Piedmont, we moved a block up to Warring Street, where we had two large houses side-by-side, which we named “Altamedia” and “Placentia.” From there, we moved another block up to Prospect Street, where we rented two houses, also side-by-side, the “Novida” and the “Altamira.” All of the houses were former UC fraternity houses and ideal for communal living, with their multiple bedrooms, communal-sized kitchens and dining rooms.
In our houses, we would allocate a space for what we call our community clothes closet, where we put clothing to be passed on. It’s an interesting phenomena how materiality always seems to accumulate over a short period of time, and the larger the group, the more use can be found for the various tools, equipment, clothes and other miscellaneous matter. “Righteousness” simply means right use of all materials and energies. The equipment, tools and instruments are maintained and coordinated by the person or persons most involved in a particular School of Experience.