Bells Bend Farms is comprised of about 40 acres of rolling pastures, cropland and forest, located in the community of Scottsboro-Bells Bend in Northwest Davidson County, Tennessee. Though the farm is technically in the Nashville city limits, it feels as though you are many miles away. We are only 15 minutes from most Nashville neighborhoods!
Protected by Bells Bend in the Cumberland River, the area has remained a rural, agriculture community since the re-settling of the Nashville area.
Follow the links below to learn more about our farm, who we are and where to find our food:
Bells Bend Farms was started in 2008 by a group of neighbors living in the community of Scottsboro-Bells Bend in Northwest Davidson County, Tennessee. Faced with unwanted large scale commercial and residential development in the area, this group of diverse neighbors has a history of banding together in an attempt to protect the place they love and call home.
In the late 1980s, 800 acres of land in Bells Bend was slated to be the next major landfill in the county. Area residents protested the thoughtless destruction of farmland, even leading to a few local farmers blocking the only road leading into Bells Bend, on their well-used tractors, of course. The city eventually sided with the neighbors and the 800 acre area became the beautiful Bells Bend Park.
In 2006, and again in 2008, developers purchased over 1000 acres of land across from Bells Bend Park, with the plan to build an enormous commercial and residential area, rivaling the size of downtown Nashville. Neighbors came together again, this time with lots of support from other Nashville neighborhoods, in an attempt to prevent unwanted sprawl and the destruction of Nashville's farmland. It was a close call, determined by a single vote by the Metro Planning Commission, but the proposed development was eventually struck down. Though the community won the day, it became clear that a more proactive approach to protecting the area was needed.
Neighbors decided to work towards creating the rural community they wished to live in. Starting organic farms was one idea that would, hopefully, draw positive attention to the area while serving the local community and Nashville. Funds were raised and Jeff Poppen, the Barefoot Farmer, was hired as a consultant to help get things growing. A few neighbors offered the use of their land and many others offered tools and labor. One cold January day, over 50 neighbors met at what is now Bells Bend Farms and constructed an 8 foot deer fence around the planned garden area. Eric and Peter, who currently run the farm, were volunteers on that cold day!
Over the last decade, the farm has evolved. In the beginning, Bells Bend Farms consisted of four properties in the area and over 150 acres of land. We've simplified things and, though the other properties are still being farmed, we only grow crops at our 40 acre lease, along the rich bottomlands of Sulphur Creek.
It has been quite the journey watching this community project grow. We have hosted prospective farmers from all over the country, many going on to start their own farms, locally or elsewhere. We have watched the Scottsboro - Bells Bend area gain respect as a food source and a place for Nashvillians to camp, ride horses, mountain bike, birdwatch and hike. Several other farms have sprung up in Bells Bend, proving that this area, with several thousand acres of rich, fertile soil has the potential to provide Nashville with a good percentage of its food, grown locally and sustainably.
Meet the Farmers
Eric has called the Scottsboro-Bells Bend area home for most of his life. After volunteering during the start up phase of the farm, Eric became the farm manager and primary operator. A lover of the outdoors, living things and independence, farming quickly become an obsession. Eric is passionate about his home community, old time string band music, fly fishing, local history and prehistory.
Tyler moved from Louisville, KY to Nashville in 2010 and started a gourmet mushroom growing operation. In 2012, Tyler moved to the Bells Bend area and started Humble Flowers, growing and arranging cut flowers for their CSA, farmers' markets and weddings. Eric and Tyler married in 2017 and began farming together that year. When she's not growing and harvesting crops, Tyler enjoys managing and milking her small herd of Jersey cows.
Peter, originally from Natchez, MI, began farming with Bells Bend Farms in 2009. In 2012 Peter started his own farming operation in Bells Bend and was a main farmer with Six Boots Growers Collective. Peter began working with Bells Bend Farms again in 2016 and manages several parts of the farming operation.
We do not use any synthetic/chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides.
We believe that costly organic certification is most useful to farms that rely on wholesale marketing and/or farms that ship food to less-local markets. Because we know and interact with the vast majority of our customers face to face, we enjoy an element of trust and transparency uncommon in today's food system. We invite our CSA members and others who enjoy our food to visit our farms in person to see exactly how we grow the food they enjoy.
Our goal is to create as much fertility as possible on the farm, while importing as little as possible. We grow cover crops, which create lots of organic matter and nutrients needed for healthy plant growth. Mixing (plowing) these cover crops back into the field feeds the next crop that is planted. We turn garden areas back into pasture for our animals to graze, then from pasture back into cropland, benefiting greatly from the added fertility that animals provide. We also make high quality compost each year, which is added to our fields to improve the soil and feed our crops.
We use biodynamic preparations in our compost piles and for field applications to help build our soils and improve the vitality of the farm.
Find Our Food
The easiest way to enjoy our food is by joining our CSA Program. We also sell at farmers markets and can fill online orders, to be picked up on farm or at the farmers market of your choice.
Richland Park Farmers Market in West Nashville from 9am-noon - Saturday April - mid December
Bells Bend Grown - online market - Coming soon...
On Farm (15 minutes from Nashville)
12 South at Las Paletas (across from 12 S Farmers Market) - 3:30-6pm