Monday, March 25, 2013

Six Boots Collective Vegetable CSA

This year we are proud to partner with the farmers at Six Boots Growers' Collective to offer their vegetable CSA with an Ecotone add-on.

The Six Boots Growers' Collective is a cooperative of three small farms in Bells Bend: Hoot n' Holler Gardens, Wiley's Produce, and Soggy Bottom Farm. 

Working together to promote their common vision of a sustainable food system, the farmers at Six Boots use ecological soil management techniques, cover crops, compost, crop rotation, and biodynamic preparations to grow some of the best vegetables in mid-South!
The Six Boots CSA runs twenty-eight full weeks, from mid-May to early December. Shares are $700 for the entire season, which is $25 per week. They try their hardest to ensure you get at least that much value in vegetables and flowers, and with the season's bounty you often get much more! For those household that might not want as much, or as long, a commitment  the growers at Six Boots also divide the season and allow you to sign-up for main summer shares and fall supplemental shares. Summer shares run for twenty weeks and are $500, while the fall supplements run for another eight weeks and are $200. That way, if you don't like fall veggies (is that possible?), or can't afford it all at once, you have the option!
Examples of produce in the spring include mixed greens, snap peas, lettuces, green onions, carrots, beets, garlic scapes, spinach, broccoli or raab, radishes, turnips, cabbage, and a variety of herbs. Examples of produce in the summer include cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, hot chiles, basil, potatoes, summer squash, zucchini, corn, eggplant, garlic, onions, watermelons, and cantaloupe. Finally, in the fall you can expect kale, collards, turnip greens, carrots, beets, cabbage, green onions lettuce, arugula, bok choy, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, turnips, radishes, winter squash, and popcorn. What is more, you get a mason jar of flowers each week with all your vegetables!!!
They have three pick-up locations from which to choose:

Tuesdays 3:30 to 6:30
12th South Farmer's Market

Saturdays 9:00 to 12:00
East Nashville Coop. Ministries

Saturdays 9:00 to 12:00
Downtown Farmers Market

At the ENCM Saturday pick-up, you can look forward to a fun day of cooking in the cobb-oven and garden workshops, if you're interested. You can also pick-up your share there all day long. To join their CSA, email them at:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

2013 Heritage Turkeys

Ecotone Farm is happy to announce it will raise a limited number of turkeys for the 2013 holiday season! At Ecotone we raise only heritage breed turkeys in an Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) manner. Unlike industrial varieties of turkey, heritage turkeys are slow-growing, naturally-reproducing birds that take upwards of six months to reach a mature market weight.

Raised from day one on our farm - eating bugs and grass and grain in the sunshine and the rain - these turkeys are truly worth giving thanks for. Eating a custom-mixed, certified organic grain ration, you can be confident these birds are raised according to the highest-possible standards of husbandry, and with integrity and care for the environment and people.

Because these birds are so time- and capital- intensive, we are only able to raise the number of turkeys for which we have actual commitments. We are now accepting deposits of $50 per turkey until March 20th, with the remaining balance due at the time of pick-up on the farm. The price for hens (8-10 lb.) is $85, while medium toms (10-12 lb.) are $100 and large toms (12-15 lb.) are $150. There are only ever a few heritage toms that get between 17 and 20 lbs., but there are a few; if you’d like one of these special birds, please let me know. All birds will be processed on-farm with our AWA-approved mobile processing unit on November 24th and 25th. If you would like to observe or participate, please contact us by September.

To sign-up for an 2013 Ecotone turkey complete the form at the link below and send your deposit to Ecotone Farm, 6806 Clarksville Pike, Joelton, Tennessee 37080. If you don't sign-up online, please include with your deposit a note with your name, address, email and phone, as well as the size of bird you want. Stay tuned to the blog for updates on your holiday turkey from our farm to your fork!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Kiva Zip - Falling Sky Farm

Kiva Zip is an experimental site, launched by Kiva, that enables you to make direct loans to entrepreneurs in Kenya and the United States. You can make a loan today for as little as $25. Over time, as your loan is repaid, you get your money back, and you can then withdraw it, or re-lend it to another entrepreneur.

Kiva Zip is an innovation of Kiva that will test new approaches in direct person-to-person. Kiva Zip shares the same mission as - to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva Zip is testing new ways of realizing this mission with the goal of microlending expanding our reach to underserved populations by using new technologies that also drive down costs to the borrower. Through the use of technology, was the first-ever microlending website to allow any individual, with a computer and a credit card, to lend money to a low-income entrepreneur halfway around the world.

Kiva Zip is attempting to take the use of technology to the next level, such as mobile and electronic payments that enable the direct transfer of funds between lenders and borrowers. In the model, these payments are managed through Kiva’s microfinance partners. Kiva Zip still partners with organizations and individuals that work closely with borrowers (these are called “trustees” in the Kiva Zip model), but in Kiva Zip trustees never handle the loan funds.

Low cost loans to borrowers is one of the main benefit of Kiva Zip being able to use new technologies to enable the direct transfer of funds. For the Kiva Zip alpha phase, Borrowers will be paying 0% interest rates. This differs from the model where borrowers do pay interest to the microfinance institutions in exchange for their administration of the loans, and a number of other important services that the MFI provides to borrowers (technical assistance, financial advice and training, etc.).

Another important difference is that Kiva Zip loans are expected to be even riskier than loans in the main Kiva model. has been operating for over 6 years now, and many of the kinks have been worked out over time. Because the Kiva Zip model is new, it is likely that there will be many learnings and changes as the alpha is launched over the next few months. For this reason, the repayment rate on Kiva Zip is expected to be significantly lower than the nearly 99% seen on today (as of December 2011). As due diligence methodologies are tested and fine-tuned, we are confident that repayment rates will continue to improve.

About Falling Sky Farm:
Cody's interest in farming and food culture grew organically. While in college, he spent summers working at a restaurant where he developed an interest in local food. After college, he spent two years teaching high school physics in Providence, Rhode Island. He enjoyed teaching, but missed rural Arkansas and was itching to get more connected to food. So in 2004 he moved to Searcy County, Arkansas to manage a local bakery, and was quickly reminded of the economic challenges facing rural Arkansans. Searcy County is a place of extreme natural beauty and persistent poverty. With over 20 percent of population falling below the poverty line, good jobs are hard to find.

So in 2007 he and his wife, Andrea Todt, started Falling Sky Farm, a pasture-based livestock farm with a mission of establishing a profitable demonstration farm to promote a local food system that produces delicious food and reinvigorates the local economy. In 2013 they are still working to create good jobs for their community that pay a living wage - not at the expense of the rest of the food chain but with a sustainable approach that ensures healthy land, customers, farmers, and animals.

At Falling Sky Farm they raise chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, cattle, and lots of beautiful green grass. Their animals are rotated regularly through lush pastures. Their cattle are 100% grass fed, and our poultry and pigs are supplemented with a custom-mixed, GMO-free grain ration. Neither their animals nor the pastures that sustains them ever consumes antibiotics, growth hormones, or synthetic pesticides or herbicides. All of the farm's products are marketed within 150 miles of the farm. Falling Sky Farm has also tapped into the shift in consumer tastes, shopping patterns, and technological advancements, creating an online farmers market that conveniently and cost-effectively connects 25 growers to more than 200 customers. This market, Conway Locally Grown, now provides customers in central Arkansas with homegrown vegetables, fruit, and other products.

This Kiva Zip loan would help Falling Sky Farm purchase a refrigerated delivery trailer and expand their farm business. They have grown substantially over the past couple of years and one of their greatest challenges at this point is getting products to market. Their main market area, central Arkansas, is a long drive from the farm and they try to keep costs down by limiting trips to once a week. A larger capacity for transporting their product has become necessary, and having a vehicle that is refrigerated that can keep the product at a proper temperature is essential. This loan would provide the much-needed funds for acquiring such a vehicle and expanding our business.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Contrariness of the Mad Farmer

I am done with apologies. If contrariness is my
inheritance and destiny, so be it. If it is my mission
to go in at exits and come out at entrances, so be it.
I have planted by the stars in defiance of the experts,
and tilled somewhat by incantation and by singing,
and reaped, as I knew, by luck and Heaven's favor,
in spite of the best advice. If I have been caught
so often laughing at funerals, that was because
I knew the dead were already slipping away,
preparing a comeback, and can I help it?
And if at weddings I have gritted and gnashed
my teeth, it was because I knew where the bridegroom
had sunk his manhood, and knew it would not
be resurrected by a piece of cake. 'Dance,' they told me,
and I stood still, and while they stood
quiet in line at the gate of the Kingdom, I danced.
'Pray,' they said, and I laughed, covering myself
in the earth's brightness, and then stole off gray
into the midst of a revel, and prayed like an orphan.
When they said, 'I know that my Redeemer liveth,'
I told them, 'He's dead,' And when they told me,
'God is dead,' I answered, 'He goes fishing every day
in the Kentucky River. I see Him often.'
When they asked me would I like to contribute
I said no, and when they had collected
more than they needed, I gave them as much as I had.
When they asked me to join them I wouldn't,
and then went off by myself and did more
than they would have asked. 'Well, then,' they said
'go organize the International Brotherhood
of Contraries,' and I said, 'Did you finish killing
everybody who was against peace?' So be it.
Going against men, I have heard at times a deep harmony
thrumming in the mixture, and when they ask me what
I say I don't know. It is not the only or the easiest
way to come to the truth. It is one way.

- Wendell Berry