Getting Our Hands Dirty for Love

A wonderful thing is happening at Old School Farm in Bell’s Bend, just a short 15 minute hop from Nashville. But then, that’s nothing new; the vision and practices of the farm have been amazing right from the farm’s  inception. Their mission to provide hope and healing for people with intellectual challenges and disabilities has been in place for several years now, and this new project is just the next great thing in a long line of great things.

Beginning this July, Old School Farm will be launching weekly pottery classes students of all ability levels, open to both budding artists and experienced potters alike. And even better? The classes will be free! – thanks to generous donations and grants from both The Metro Arts Commission and The National Endowment For The Arts.

One of the aspects of this program that excites Julia Brown and her husband Ben (the managers of the pottery studio and Old School Farm, respectively) the most is the idea that people of all intellectual and artistic abilities will be working together side-by-side, creating beautiful crafted pieces that everyone can enjoy. Working with our hands as human beings has been proven to be therapeutic no matter what our walk in life has been, and it is also empowering to be able to speak to others through what you are making or building. This is very freeing to people whose lives have been affected by physical or mental restrictions and who cannot always communicate their thoughts clearly in speech. Ben, Julia, and the rest of the Old School team also believe that giving people the opportunity to work closely together with others in the community will provide a sense of belonging that isn’t always present for those who have been side-lined by their differences through no fault of their own.

The project will allow visitors and pottery students to connect to the earth throughout their OSF experience from start to finish, since the group will start the work involved in fulfilling their first commission right away; they will be providing the Old School Farm Restaurant with 500 new dish creations! Julia says, “It’s a really awesome holistic story; not only do our veggies/food come from the earth – so does the way we serve and present them to each other.” The entire Old School Farm project is dedicated to this mission through education and employment of individuals with intellectual disabilities, and we are very, very proud to be able to highlight their venture here.

Volunteer opportunities abound – gathering eggs, hoeing, weeding, and planting, and more! – and all donations are always greatly appreciated. In addition to all of this, they operate a restaurant that ranks up there with the best in Nashville, serving Old School Farm produce daily. Oh, and let’s not forget the bar! Cocktails created with ingredients that were sourced from the gardens right outside the OSF doors are a regular part of the drinking/dining experience. Think of Old School Farm the next time you are planning a dinner date! In the very near future, that meal will be served on those handmade dishes of the OSF pottery studio students and exclusive to the farm.

To sign up for their free pottery classes, go to their Eventbrite page and register yourself for a class. Classes will be held every Thursday in July from 5:30-6:30 pm in the Old School Events Barn at 5022 Old Hydes Ferry Pike. Space is limited, so sign up as soon as possible (RSVP Required)!

To research volunteer or donation opportunities , go to and get involved. Let’s get our hands dirty for love, Nashville!

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