Skip to main content
RIVER FRIENDLY FARM PROFILE

Cooper Creek Farm

Farm Facts

Location
Nashville, TN

Farm Usage
mixed vegetables

Year certified
2023

Overview

Like many musicians in Nashville, Alex Bice found himself with time to spare when the COVID pandemic hit. He began absorbing educational content on backyard farming and felt inspired to build his own urban farm oasis. His quarter-acre production area can’t be seen from the road, but the neatly lined and terraced rows are revealed as soon as you enter the backyard. 

Cooper Creek Farm gets its name from Cooper Creek, which flows behind the East Nashville farm and into the Cumberland River. The farm produces a mix of regeneratively grown vegetables, fruits, and herbs, which Alex sells at farmers markets and to his neighbors. Many of his customers are located just a few miles from his farm, setting a new gold standard for reducing the distance between farm and fork. 

Regenerative farms work in such a way that the soil and its constituents– the microbiology, nutrients, carbon, and structure– are improved upon over time rather than depleted. Alex’s production method is called “organic no-till,” a style that relies on hand tools, such as a broadfork, to gently work the soil and mulches to keep weeds in check. Alex mulches over pathways and other areas prone to compaction and erosion. To hold soil in place and increase microbial activity, he is even experimenting with “living pathways,” or aisles planted in a sturdy cover crop that can handle foot traffic.

River Friendly Farm Certified

In 2023, Cooper Creek Farm was certified as a River Friendly Farm by the Cumberland River Compact.

“I named the farm Cooper Creek Farm because I wanted to honor the waterway that flows past it. Water is the source of life, and streams and rivers have always been a source of peace and grounding for me personally. So when I heard about the River Friendly Farm certification, I was instantly on board. I’m grateful to Cumberland River Compact for recognizing the steps Cooper Creek Farm is taking to protect the health of Cooper Creek and the Cumberland River into which it flows.”

The River Friendly Farm certification program with Cumberland River Compact recognizes farmers who are good stewards of water and land resources, connecting them with consumers who value a healthy environment. As a River Friendly Farm, Cooper Creek Farm is ensuring cleaner water, healthier soil, and a more resilient climate for the people and creatures living in the surrounding environment.

River-Friendly BMPS

The permanent beds at Cooper Creek Farm are managed with hand tools to reduce run-off into its namesake creek. Permanent beds are mounded soil, usually 30” wide, that are never mechanically tilled back into the ground; organic matter builds on them over time. In no-till systems like this, plant roots and high soil organic matter act as a “glue” for soil particles, holding them together even during heavy rain events. Sediment and nutrients stay in place, lowering the impact on our waterways and on the farmer’s bottom line. 

Pollinators and other insects can find a happy home at Cooper Creek Farm, which doesn’t use chemical inputs. Sweet alyssum, buckwheat, and flowering herbs are intentionally grown to offer diverse forage and habitat for insects. Insect populations have fallen, especially in urban areas, which in turn affects the populations of larger animals like birds and salamanders. Urban oases lush with flowering plants and free of chemicals are critical to the health of our ecosystem. Cooper Creek Farm does more than feed its human community; it is also a respite and home for critters of all kinds.

How to Support Farm

You can find Cooper Creek Farm at the East Nashville and Amqui Station Farmers Markets. Swing by the farm to buy food from the pay-what-you-can cooler Alex keeps out front, or volunteer for a few hours in exchange for fresh veggies. You can also find Cooper Creek’s food at local restaurants such as Butcher & Bee and Tantisimo.