EdenThistle: The Origin of Our Dream

By Katherine
While thistles will always exist in this world, there's still Eden to be found.
Our little family in fall of 2015--two years into creation of EdenThistle--with a growing number of animals on the farm.

We set out in the creation of EdenThistle with grand vision and dreams—and quite honestly fear and trepidation too.  It felt so incredibly risky to move back to our hometown of Lookout Mountain to pursue our new dream of creating a land stewardship company—specifically one that revolved around raising livestock sustainably with aims of selling quality meat—something we’d never done.  

My sidekick, AnnCarter, helping me with chores our first year farming.

Oh my goodness, thinking back to our first six months: we eagerly visited established farms to observe the pros; we acquired the skill of processing chickens with our own hands; we created odd jobs to support ourselves so we could use the rest of our meager savings to start the business. Those months involved praying a lot! And worrying a lot—were we doing the right thing?  So much risk?!  

Always a little helper around to collect eggs.

Other people our ages were buying houses and having more babies.  We were living the nomad life style and learning how to parent baby chicks with our 18-month (human) daughter in tow. Was this a sane decision?

AnnCarter at 16 months old helping us watch over our 1st batch of broiler chicks.

But here we are eight years later. We’ve grown our family and established our business—we not only have a meat company but now a dog company too.

Camp loves to feed Farmer all the treats.

And this year we’ve built a sweet bridge between the two through the launch of our new dog treats created from nutrient-dense by-product off the farm. Our business is constantly evolving, we’re constantly pivoting, and today we find our mission aligns more with our business goals than ever.  

Marshall with Farmer - our hound and inspiration for dog treats.

At the core of it all is our desire to hunt after “Eden” within the thistles.  

Marshall & Haddie checking on the cows.

We cannot solve the world’s problems, but we can be a part of making things better. There’s a restorative story to be uncovered as we search for Eden in the midst of thistles—one that diminishes the fears of taking on something risky. One that isn’t necessarily easy but is always good. It’s the story that compels us to continue in our work and brings us deep gratitude as we join together with others on like paths.  

We often like to “look back” and take time to remember the pillars that established our work so that we may carry on with renewed focus. So, here’s a look back to where we started, where we’ve been and where we’re going—our dream:

We are about regenerative agriculture that tells the beautiful story of hope to be found in restoration.
 We are about nourishing, good food that community gathers around for celebration and connection.
And mostly we are about family business—sharing and learning from others (including our canine family members) about the things that matter most through the twists and turns of life.
Pigs living the good life foraging through the woods.

Because it’s within the community of family that food is shared and life is lived—the hard parts and the good parts—as we endure the thistles and celebrate the moments of Eden.

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Things are not always “fixed” right away or even ever; but by these Streams of Water that Flow, I have found more life, love and kindness than I ever knew was possible. And that’s what I want to write about–little moments from these Streams that Flow.
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