A Renaissance Farming Story
By Amanda Angel
Renaissance, the word by definition means “rebirth, renewal”, but also lends itself to thoughts of an era of olde, has turned out to be the culminating descriptor for the farm at Dazi Acres in Pikeville, Tennessee. In a modern world where thoughts of how our food goes from being a living animal to our plates are better off forgotten by most. A style of farming which takes care to nurture that very progression is nearly unheard of. David and Suzanne Eltz gave up the fast paced corporate life in Atlanta to move to a peaceful cove of land on Dayton Mountain a mere 5 months ago. They were simply ready to embrace life as it once was, the slow pace, the calm quiet, and the real food of their own farming. In an effort to describe for others their style of farming, the words natural or organic just weren’t specific enough. This is how Suzanne coined the term Renaissance Farming. “We knew as soon as we bought the land that no pesticides, herbicides, or GMO seed would touch it, even though, at the time, we had no idea to what extent our beliefs would take us. ‘Renaissance farming’ was a term we came up with one day when we realized that our style of farming is simply a resurgence of bygone days with a little technology thrown in. We don’t like the term ‘conventional farming’ as it’s applied to Big Ag. We believe we’re the conventional farmers and Big Ag is assembly-line farming.”
The Eltz’s describe their farming methods as ,[pe2-image src=”http://lh5.ggpht.com/-AFgV-6ibilM/UjEV4958khI/AAAAAAAAAGU/2uQV94jhIok/s144-c-o/hensWeb.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/104413851917705081151/20130911#5922539053403378194″ caption=”Hens, Roaming and Pecking Free – Click to View” type=”image” alt=”hensWeb.jpg” pe2_img_align=”right” ]
“Beyond Organic” or “Renaissance” and were inspired by natural farming guru Joel Salatin. “We loved the idea of clean eating and farming, then stumbled across Salatin’s book You Can Farm by accident,” Suzi explains. “We started adopting the philosophy, and we really believe in it.” How can one not believe in the theory that food well cared for, allowed to live the way they were created to live, will taste better and be better for you? It just makes sense. Contrast that with the methods of meat processing found behind the meat at the local grocery store, and the title of another Joel Salatin book comes to mind.Folks, This Ain’t Normal.
“Buy local, whether it’s at a farmers’ market or at the farm itself. Visit farms so you can see what’s going on. Know what’s going to become flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone at dinner time (or any time!). Be able to pronounce the ingredients on the label, and if you can’t, don’t buy it. Learn to cook without boxed or frozen ingredients. Learn to can or freeze your “extra” food,” encourage David and Suzanne. Furthermore, they add, “Get out to your local farms and talk to the farmers. Ask your farmer at the farmers’ market if you can visit their farm. If that farmer says no, you shouldn’t be buying from a farmer with something to hide. Know where your food comes from and take responsibility for food choices. Give up your lattes and you’d be amazed at how much money you can spend on sustainable food! And plant something! Dig up your lawn and grow food!”
[pe2-image src=”http://lh6.ggpht.com/-Xpk-lrocojs/UjEV49_V2mI/AAAAAAAAAGQ/dHY_vhroGV4/s144-c-o/pigWeb.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/104413851917705081151/20130911#5922539053426006626″ caption=”Pig Being a Pig – Click to View” type=”image” alt=”pigWeb.jpg” ]
They hope to see their Renaissance farming operation sell out their chicken, turkey, and pork for this year. They are now supplying a handful of reputable restaurants like St. John’s in Chattanooga and Stagecoach Place in Crossville with their chicken. “Another goal is to offer a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to customers and we might even introduce beyond organic lamb and rabbit, and we will definitely have pastured eggs for sale this next spring.”
What Dazi Acres is doing with their chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows is the epitome of normal, perfect, and wonderful farming techniques. All are pasture or forest raised, free to live, eat, move, exercise, breathe, and be healthy, happy animals as they were created to be! There is a strong chance that this is the first time most people have heard of Renaissance Farming, but this perfectly descriptive term, I believe, will soon be the new buzz-word in the natural food movement. David and Suzanne invite you to come out to the farm to visit, which is a delightful experience. You can also learn more about them and pre-order their meat on their website at daziacres.com.