Author: Brenna Wright

I am originally from Wichita, KS where I did my undergrad in psychology with a minor in religion. After college, I joined the United States Peace Corps and went to live in rural farming village in Ghana, located in West Africa. It was there I discovered a passion for agriculture and community development, and was also pleasantly awakened to a whole palate of new flavors and fresh ingredients that has been an inspiration for growing good food back home. After moving to Knoxville in 2010, I decided to pursue graduate education at the University of Tennessee, focusing on soil science and conservation. In the years since I have worked as a farm hand and market developer at two farms in Knoxville. The first, Care of the Earth CSA, is chemically free, family-owned, and family-operated by two wonderful farmers right outside of Knoxville. The other, UT's Organic Farm, is where I was able to develop market skills that would equip me with the tools to start my own farm. I also served as a S.M.A.R.T Center Technician with the University, using topographical and mapping tools to help develop a land site for conservation use. My ideals and values on agriculture have been greatly shaped by the works of Wendell Berry.

Happy New Year!


We hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year. Here at the farm Daniel and I are working hard to prepare for the next season, as well as closing out the 2015 year by distributing what’s left of our produce to area restaurants. The weather stayed very accommodating for so long we are just now, in January, starting to see some effects of the cold.

A few quick updates to catch you all up, we’re excited to begin development of the un-fenced portion of our location this winter. Included in this development will be official parking, a circle drive for easy vegetable pick up, mulched trails around raised beds, seating, open space for events, installation of trees and other plants, and a lean-to pavillion for washing, packing and distribution. The following drawing gives you a visual of what we’re thinking: thefarm2

Anyone who has talked to me over the last year has probably heard me say something about this development, to me it is a vital next step to our mission of beautification and public accessibility. An Abbey Fields Urban Farm sign will also be erected soon, which has been a needed detail for some time. It is our hope and goal that we can finish what we started in regards to initial development of the farm so that we can nurture all aspects of it’s growth, especially the social and biological.

'Tis the season, oh what fun!

Next up, a new location! While all the details of this new project cannot be disclosed at the time, (still working on zoning requirements, etc) we are super stoked to be acquiring another lot right next to the Old City. Our plans for this site will be dual in nature. One portion of the parcel will be set aside as a community garden for the downtown community to utilize. This portion will be built out in raised beds and will have a small shed and wash station for subscribers to use. The other part of the lot will be used by Abbey Fields, where we will be constructing beds and planting strictly for restaurant sales, serving restaurants in the Old City and downtown. Construction on this will (HOPEFULLY) begin the first of February.  It’s going to be a great project and we’re excited to be a part of it.

Remember, our early bird CSA special is still good until the 15th (see the promo flyer below). We’re extending our season this year by three weeks and also hope to have a few more drop offs for your convenience (like if you have several work friends interested we could bring them straight to your desk!). To sign up visit our newly renovated website and feel free to contact us with any questions.

Enjoy this season of rest, spring will be here soon!



IMG_20150711_122953 IMG_20150709_161237_251 IMG_20150708_151833_347 IMG_20150708_151839_843IMG_20150708_151826_747 IMG_20150707_161208_657 IMG_20150706_112924_869 IMG_20150624_152446_559IMG_20150602_090455_411 IMG_20150613_090549_650 IMG_20150523_085045_844 IMG_20150527_115239_322 IMG_20150527_105513 It’s been a good one so far. July has been far more gracious than June, (said no farmer in East Tennessee, until now). The rain and cooler temperatures have been a refreshing reprieve to the almost rainless month prior. We’re almost half way through our season and it’s been busy, lovely and frustrating, exhausting but worth it. We’ve had several groups come out to help, to take tours, and we’ve been tremendously encouraged by the support of the city and community.

Tomorrow we plant peas for fall (what?!) and begin other seedings for the preparation for the cooling  of seasons. My family and I now live in the neighborhood, which seems appropriate considering the affection I have for this little piece of land. If you’ve been by recently you’ve probably seen my very pregnant self waddling around, don’t worry, we have a plan. Starting next week Parkridge’s very own Daniel Aisenbrey will be picking up my slack in the weeks to come, he’ll be a tremendous addition to the present and future of the farm and I’m over the moon to have him.

Peace and love ya’ll,




It’s official.

Not just on the calendar, but all living things are relishing in the sunny chorus of Spring. Pollinators of all shapes and sizes fill our greenhouse and the winter rye is a beautiful dark green from the showers of the season. Our spring crops are doing wonderful under the predictable rhythms of sun and rain, with only a few cold nights to leave me on the edge of my seat.

Vegetable pick-ups begin in less than a month, (what?!), and while there’s always the steady anxiety of customer satisfaction, I’m feeling relatively at ease, excited, even, to hand out all our hard work has produced.

Last work day crew.
Last work day crew.


The next few weeks will begin to unfold and enhance some aesthetic aspects of the farm. I hope to be working some ground in the front part of the farm (outside of the fence) to plant wildflowers and native grasses as well as clearing brush and building beds building side of our property. The extended forecast, while never guaranteed, seems pretty promising that winter has gone and so we’ll start putting out some of our summer crops in the next few weeks.

Sound like fun? Good! Come to our next work day, Saturday, April 18th from 9-12 to help out and see our progress.

Also look for our microgreen products in Three Rivers Market,

Work shares covering crops for latest cold night.
Work shares covering crops for latest cold night.
sunflower sprouts
sunflower sprouts

as well as our produce in The Plaid Apron and K-Brew. It’s a busy time of year, sometimes hard to fathom that in a few short months there will be standing sunflowers and we’ll be well into our CSA season. While there’s always a million things to do, and not enough rainy days to do it, or too many rainy days to get it done, I think we’re settling into a balanced chaos that is helping to keep us on our toes as well as ground us into our mission.

It’s a beautiful time of year, so plant your garden and cook good food for the people you love. I look forward to meeting you all in the weeks to come.

Your neighborhood farmer,IMG_20150411_120249_516


Winter rye cover crop
  Winter rye cover crop



Was that the sun?

Greetings from the cold, muddy farm. It has been a crazy last few weeks, wait, last THREE weeks of weather (I know this is the conversation everyone is having, but I really want to keep talking about it). We’ve been delayed a bit on getting seeds in the ground, but finally got a day between snow meltage/snow cometh to plant our carrots, parsnips and peas.

Now that we’ve gone to a semi-permanent bed system the planting ground had actually drained a good bit, making fluffy seed beds for our spring crops.

We have officially moved into the Sertoma Center a few blocks away, they are graciously allowing us use of their greenhouse while we get to work with their clients, teaching them how to seed and transplant, hopefully in the spring they’ll be able to come on over and help us put the little plants in the field. It never fails when I have volunteers to come out to plant, that when they return to the farm, they go directly to whatever it is they planted however many weeks or months before. We love the results, to see what our hands helped to do.009

008Yesterday I was able to have a wonderful conversation with one of Knoxville’s finest, he’s written an awesome write up on the farm, which you can read here:, it was lovely to have Knoxville Urban Guy there, in all his thoughtful questions and insights, our city is better because of his work.

Mark your calendars, our next community work day is scheduled for March 14th from 12-3. We’ll be planting potatoes and other green stuff, as well as digging and moving piles around to clean up the place a bit. It’s always a fun time to meet new folks and to get your hands dirty, if it’s warm enough we’ll put out the garden sprinkler to jump around in (could totally happen in March).

Hope you all are well out there, thank you for supporting this little farm and for all the viral love we’ve been receiving the past few days, I couldn’t be more excited for the season!snowyfarm

Keep warm,



Greetings from the farm!

If you’ve driven by the farm in the last few weeks you’ll notice our super duper fence addition.



It adds nice dimensions to the field as well as indicating that there’s something going on in this place, so please don’t bring your off road vehicles through. The company we used is small, local, and absolutely wonderful, please contact me if you have any fencing or contracting needs as I would love to pass on their info.

We started our greenhouse work a few weeks ago, after a few restless teen-degree nights of checking the temperature on our little room, it was nice to settle into the last couple of days of spring like weather, no heater needed. We seeded cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and celery. Our planting schedule from here through July is loaded down with weekly, bi- and sometimes tri- weekly plantings. Our hope is to have an additional greenhouse soon on the property to house the more of the abundance.  Until then it looks like we’ll be partnering with the Sertoma Center just a few blocks away, which is an activity center for folks with mental disabilities and has a splendid, spacious greenhouse for their horticulture program. I’m super stoked about this partnership as it’s one of the benefits of having a farm in a neighborhood, we get to know and work beside our neighbors, we share our tables and our stories and over the years we see our hard work pay off from the bounty of the land and the zest of our relationships. I get spring time giddy with the possibilities.



Our next work day will be February 21st from 12-3, we’ll have coffee and perhaps a few power snacks, for those who joined us for our January work day it will be a lot of the same, digging, mulching, perhaps some seeding, although we should have more sunlight as (believe it or not!), the days are getting just longer.

Also, (insert marketing plug), please consider purchasing a share! Split it with a friend, pay weekly, but give it a shot. This is the first farm of it’s kind as we’re solely supported by the community and with your support we’re hoping to invest in other blighted properties, perhaps in YOUR neighborhood, and to employ more eager farmers like myself. Visit the web page for more info and spread the word!





enjoy your mountain feeling Monday,


Kudos to the weather man

The weather man got it right, it was a gorgeous day today, our first community work day of the 2015 season. I crossed my fingers and prayed to the sun gods that this Saturday would indeed be a hint of spring, something to pull us out of the drear of this January. And oh how lovely to work beside all the beautiful people that came out, to see the sun shine on our field and their faces as everyone came together to…





Lots and lots of digging.





The field was still pretty wet from our week of moisture so the dirt was heavy,


these people can tell you so.

Most of our efforts were concentrated on the Spring lot, digging beds, digging in manure to put on beds, digging in mulch to put on the walkways, so many shovels going. Cameron got the fire going early and we had a little premium roast from our neighborhood coffee shop for breaks.   029

Our fence is going up next week. The eight foot poles that are already in place are a little intimidating on our modest lot. 035Next week they’ll be cut down to five feet and woven farm fence will be put up to help deter woodland creatures (would you believe we had a deer last year?) and the neighborhood off road recreational driver that tore down our okra and tomatoes last year. The hope is that the fence is as transparent as possible while still giving some lines and shape to the farm.

Our next community work day will be in February, stay tuned to all the various social media outlets for time and day, meanwhile, enjoy the sunshine!030


Abbey Fields Work Day Tomorrow

Happy sunny day!

Join us tomorrow at the field (1400 Washington Ave, 37917) for our first monthly work day of the 2015 season! We’re going to try to take advantage of the heat of the day so the hours are 12-3 pm. If you have gloves, shovels, pitchforks, wheelbarrows, or 5 gallon buckets bring them. If you don’t have any of those come anyway, the more the merrier! The weather is supposed to be sunny and 50 degrees, a great day to dig in the dirt.

Hope to see you there!




Greetings from the farm!

It’s been a lovely week of rain and workable temperatures, the garlic is strong and our rye cover crop is beautiful against the damp soil. Right now, we’re working on building our spring beds in the lot closest to Mitchel St. We’ll dig out walk ways and add that dirt to our semi permanent bed beside it, giving our growing spaces a slightly raised effect that make it it more efficient for root development and manual management. Soon, we will begin adding the manure and leaf mulch to the beds while also putting the wood mulch in the walk-ways to help with weed suppression and drainage. It’s a lot of work on the for front, but a highly effective model (as our fall lot was a product of) and so we hope to convert all of our crop production land to this sort of design by next summer.


008 (2)
Winter Rye cover crop

The killdeers are also back, making me extremely curious as to whether or not they return to the same nesting grounds each year, either way, I’m happy to see them again.

Spring lot contstruction

The 2015 registration is now up in the urban farm share portion ( of the website, reserve your share soon as we hope to have them all sold by the time we start putting seeds in the ground.  Also, consider splitting with a friend or another family, this is a good way to get the hang of how a CSA works while splitting the financial input. Our work shares are very limited as they were last year, please be sure you have the time to commit if this is the option you decide.

Ok, I think that’s my pitch for this blog, thanks in advance for your support. Feel free to stop by the farm to see our progress, we’ve come a long way from that trash filled lot of last year, and are hoping to contribute to the life and fertility of this place for years to come.



Merry Christmas to you and yours,




Open House October 25th, and such…

It’s fall…..whew.  It’s rained for pretty much the last week straight, and it has been amazing. The ground is swollen and satisfied and I have had my fill of pleasant coffee shop experiences. The fall crops are huge and pretty, except, sadly, for the collard greens that fell to the havoc of the harlequin beetle. Our customer year is winding down (finished October 29th) and I feel very good about our first year in cultivation. Before I get too deep in reflection, I need to put a plug in for our open house happening October 25th. Come anytime between 10 am and 1pm. We’ll have coffee from K-Brew, cider for the kiddos, local pastries around a fire and string picking by the Check Engine Band. We’ll also have a very simple self guided walking tour that will take you through our plans for the next few years. It’s going to be fun way to finish the season and I’m looking forward to celebrating with everyone.
Abbey Field Final



Mad props to Elias Attea, not only for his awesome hair, but also for this sweet flier.





Beets and carrots. Maybe my two favorite things of all time, and they are in fine form here at the Abbey Fields. This morning I was harvesting carrots for our Saturday morning pick-up, delicately grazing the base section of the carrot tops, trying to find the more mature plants for distribution. There are no words to describe the satisfaction of finding the perfect one, pulling a meaty vegetable from beneath the ground, holding it up to the morning sun and knowing that carrots do not get any better than this. 001

And beets, well, they’re just pretty, at every stage, from seedling to table. A friend of mine used beet water to color easter eggs, he said it was amazing, and worked better than any of the dyes that could have been bought. I love it when food is beautiful.

So everything but the fall plot has been mowed down and tilled over for the season. This next week we’ll spread leaf mulch and manure and then begin building the beds to our Spring lot. The former summer lot we’ll cover crop with a rye grass and allow to lie fallow until sometime next year. The thing about working from season to season is that the days seem so long but the weeks and months fly by. I remember thinking in April, if we could just get to May and have actual veggies to hand out I’d be over the moon. October, fall, football, cool weather, that all seemed like a dream world from another planet, as well as an indescribably impossible timeline to imagine. But somehow, we’ve had veggies every week, enough veggies, sometimes even a bounty of veggies. It has been so much fun to do this, to watch everything we plant grow a little better than what was planted the previous season. As winter approaches and we sit down to evaluate our plan for next year and all the new challenges we hope to take on, I can’t help but go back. To the wooded, trash filled lot. To the bobcat buckets of rubble scooped from the cold ground and put into piles along the perimeter. To the brambles and bold kill deer who set up their nest in the middle of our barren lot in March. Remembering all the encouragement, and smiling at those who doubted what this soil could do. I am so thankful for where we are, and am humbled at the great responsibility to continue this place onto something better.



Love and peace,



P.S. For those share holders that are wondering what the heck to do with all of the greens, I found this recipe in the special Thanksgiving addition of Southern Living (unashamed:). It goes like this:


Wild rice and greens casserole:

(we prefer chopped kale in this casserole, but use your favorite green. For heartier greens like collards, cook them five minutes longer in Step 1. If you want to prepare the dish ahead, cover and chill dup to three days before baking. Uncover and bake just before serving.)

1/2 lb fresh kale or other
hearty greens, trimmed
and coarsley chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

4 1/2 tsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 cup 2% reduced fat milk

1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

3 cups cooked wild rice

1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided*

vegetable cooking spray

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1. Preheat oven to 375*. Cook kale in 1 cup boiling salted water in a Dutch oven over high heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes; drain.

2. Cook onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 20 minutes or until golden. Add garlic, thyme, and nutmeg, and cook 1 minute. Stir in flour and cooked kale. Gradually stir in milk and broth, and cook, stirring often, 4 minutes or until thickened. Stir in rice, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 2 1/2 qt. baking dish. Sprinkle almonds and remaining 1/2 cup cheese over mixture.

4. Bake at 375* for 18 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.

* Swiss cheese maybe substituted.