|Neal Creek Farm is a new project of
Ron and Pam Castle, an 18 acre property on the
western edge of Franklin County, Tennessee a few
miles from Lynchburg and old Jack Daniels and a few
miles from the Elk River and the dam at Tim's Ford
Neal Creek emerges from a spring across
the road and up the hill from this little farm, runs
quickly down through the woods and passes under Neal
Road and on to the farm. The creek is cold and
clear and runs nicely even when the weather has been
hot and dry for a month. The creek runs across
the center of the farm for over 1,200 feet and then
disappears into a gravel filled sink hole in the
stream bed. The water flows down to the Elk
River, which is about a mile away.
At the moment, Neal Creek Farm is just a piece of
property, a bit on the neglected side, with some old
fences, a workable barn and overgrazed pasture.
The vision for the farm is a small model of
sustainability in action, diverse small scale
organic agriculture, energy efficient and carbon
neutral. Our first adventure with small scale
farming was in 1981 in Warren County, Tennessee.
The future of agriculture is localization, which
is history repeating itself. Modern day
American agriculture is dramatically dependent on
fossil fuels and is not long term sustainable.
I have collected old books on farming for almost
30 years. On my shelf is
a book written in 1864 titled "Ten Acres Enough: A
Practical Experience" published by James Miller,
Bookseller, Publisher and Importer, 522 Broadway,
New York. The author, who decided to remain
anonymous to avoid people pestering him (his words),
sold his small manufacturing business in
Philadelphia in 1855 and moved his family to an 11
acre farm in central New Jersey. He paid $1,000 for
the land and house, over the course of three years
invested $1,970.86 in inputs and sold $4,658.94 in
farm products while feeding his family of five from
the production of the farm. He raised strawberries,
raspberries, blackberries, peaches, early cabbages
and other produce and sold his crops to the fresh
markets in New York City and Philadelphia which were
supplied overnight by train. He also sold berry
plants to his neighbors, a significant source of
income. He used no fossil fuels, herbicides or
pesticides. He fertilized his soil with composed
leaves, wood ashes, plaster (a source of lime) and
manure. A typical wage at the time was about $12 a
month and perhaps three times that for a factory
manager. An average income over three years of
$896.02 was well above average. And now we know why
New Jersey is named the Garden State?
Sunshine Cottage remodeled September 2011.
See how we
The future model for agriculture will be
something like Neal Creek Farm. We are going
to share our experiences hopefully for the benefit
The other good news is that we are only about 20
minutes by car from Kelso, Tennessee, home of
Prichards' Distillery, makers of Prichards Fine Rum.
Owner Phil Prichard is cousin of my good friend Mack
www.prichardsdistillery.com. Learn about
Prichards Fine Rum.
contact us and we will keep you informed of our