Ecotone is a small, highly diversified farm in Joelton, at the northwest corner of Davidson county, just 15 miles from Nashville.  At Ecotone we are committed to farming for the local table in economically as well ecologically appropriate ways, and specialize in artisan eggs, heritage poultry, and pastured pork.  Offering some of the only Animal Welfare Approved eggs in middle Tennessee, the hens of Ecotone eat certified organic grains grown 45 miles away that are custom mixed and ground on our farm, and have access to fresh pasture throughout the year, thus laying some the highest quality eggs possible.  Through our egg CSA, we offer truly local, organic eggs delivered to your doorstep year-round.  Become a farm member and join us for an annual harvest and local foods celebration.  Periodically, we also have available pastured pork and heritage poultry of different varieties, including chickens, turkeys, ducks, and guinea fowl.  Contact C.J. for more information, or to schedule a visit. We  bought this place from Thomas Lewis of Hendersonville, Tennessee on March 6, 2009, and we finally made it home at the beginning of May 2009. Thomas was born and raised here, with his family owning it and living here for the last 75 years or so. Formerly a much larger parcel of land, the Lewis' slowly sold various pieces extending down Harper Road over the years, leaving the homestead and acreage for which we have become stewards.

The house next door used to be a dairy dip restaurant, which several people remember with fondness, and now Kim, Matt, and their family live there. Matt is a seasoned roofer at 24 and an urban transplant from East Nashville; Kim hails from Portland, TN and is the primary caretaker of Matt's mother (recovering from a recent stroke) and two sons. Across the street is a well-known local watering hole, with pool and poker tables aplenty. The neighbor sharing the longest property line, Frank Krantz, arrived after the Lewis family but before the opening of the bar. 

A widower and father of three, we met Frank one afternoon while he was "dry land fishing" - or Morel mushroom hunting - which he's been cultivating in the gully between our places for over 60 years. He and his good buddy - also known as some of the best homemade wine makers on the ridge - left the hillside that day with two plastic grocery sacks full of mushrooms. Frank also feeds the deer and wild turkeys, and has attracted a large flock of the latter that numbers well over 100 birds. He lets friends selectively harvest from this bounty, and is the closest to Thoreau's wild farmer I have met.

Situated between Clarksville Pike, Harper Road, and I-24, the property consists of 11.59 acres zoned rural for agricultural use on the northern boundary of Davidson County. With ample pasture, mature forests, and an active watershed feeding a deep pond hidden in a hollow, there are several distinct habitats for wildlife and wild lives.

is the name it has suggested to us. Technically the term belongs to ecology, and designates a transitional area between two or more distinct ecological communities. Like the science, the word is relatively young - gaining widespread usage only after the turn of the last century - and derives from two much older Greek words, oikos and tonos. A home, domicile, or place of dwelling, the oikos was the foundation for politics and the organizing principle for economics; it was the place through which they became possible, and so the source for developing means appropriate to its various ends. Tonos, on the other hand, was a word born of sound, and referred to the tension or stretching of voice or music - think tone and tonality - whose trajectories form the borderlines between poles of opposition.

 William DeBuys, in Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, says that the "area where two or more distinct habitats adjoin is called an ecotone. Because it is a border zone where multiple sets of resources and opportunities become available, an ecotone tends to support greater biological diversity than either of the systems it mediates between. Delineating an ecotone, however, can be problematic. Like habitats and ecosystems, ecotones are not self-defining, as, for example, individual species are. They are human constructs, which derive their shape and character from the qualities their observers find most salient. Much depends on scale. The zone of contact where the praries of the Great Plains meet the first foothill trees of the Rockies is an ecotone. At such a broad, regional scale, a woodland savanna might be described as ecotonal between the dense forests of the mountainas and the grasslands of the plains. Closer up, however, the savanna's edge, where trees and grassland meet, constitutes another ecotone. Other transition zones emerge as one reduces the scale further: at the scale of a beetle, the border between the edge of a clump of bunchgrass and the moat of soil and other plants around it is also an ecotone. In scientific terms one might say that the world is composed of gradients with relative discontinuities. Put simply: things change nearly everywhere, and so nearly every place is the edge of something and shares the qualities of an ecotone."
We try to think of the farm as a natural habitat for the coexistence of mutually dependent species.  As such, we try to farm in ways that are not only ecologically sensitive, but ecologically beneficial.  As a new farm, we're still rehabilitating the acreage in pasture, which has been feral for fifteen years, using pigs to turn up the soil and disrupt the major brush, and the chickens in rotation to clean up afterward.  After that, we mow and/or shallow till to disrupt the pig wallows, and reseed in pasture forages suitable to pigs and poultry, as well as some native grasses and legumes.  We feed a certified organic grain grown 45 miles from the farm, and neither use any synthetic chemicals or fertilizers on our pastures, nor any synthetic supplements in our feed grains.  We use livestock guardian dogs for predator control, and semi-feral cats for pest control.