Neal Creek Farm
Franklin County, Tennessee

 
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 Reservoir.

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 moved it.

The future model for agriculture will be something like Neal Creek Farm.  We are going to share our experiences hopefully for the benefit of others.

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 Prichard.  Visit www.prichardsdistillery.com. Learn about Prichards Fine Rum.

Please contact us and we will keep you informed of our progress.

   

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