My Farm Roots…
When I was 11 years old our family moved from the very large city of Houston Texas to the small rural suburb of Humboldt, Tennessee. It was quite a culture shock moving from city life to the quiet country life of a small farm. I remember, at this age, having a large garden on the property and helping to grow our own food as a part of my daily duties. Summertime was very busy and we grew everything from seed except tomato plants, which my mother would purchase from the local co-op. We grew a large variety of produce that included cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, purple hull peas, corn, squash, and zucchini. I have to admit, at this age, that I did not enjoy working in the garden; in fact, I hated it! The garden was hot and sweaty and there were lots of mosquitoes that loved my lily white skin with blood veins so close to the surface. I remember saying,” I will NEVER, EVER marry a farmer or live on a farm, the rest of my life”. These were pretty strong words for a tween and I meant every word of it.
Fast-forward 30 years, after working in the corporate world, and the advice my mother gave me years ago, to ‘never say never’, came true. In my 40’s I came back to my humble beginnings of living the simple life on the farm. I learned that veggies did not taste the same out of a manufactured can at the grocery store, as they did fresh from the garden. I learned that there is a huge amount of satisfaction related to working on a farm and caring for our animals. Yes, there is something to be said for the empowering feeling you get when you grow your own food. I guess it’s true that you always come back to your roots…
So today my husband, Olin and I, live on 15.34 acres in beautiful Williamson County Tennessee, 14 miles from Music City, USA. We began our journey back to the farm in 2006 with the intention of simplifying our life and preparing for our retirement. My uncle Jerry, who was an agriculture extension agent, advised us to start a vegetable and fruit stand as a way to continue our green belt status on the property. A green belt has certain tax advantages, and the land must be used for an agricultural purpose. We didn’t like the idea of having to haul produce to a stand and hope that people would come by to purchase it, so we so we decided to have a U-Pick Community Garden that families could learn the origin of their food. It is amazing to me, to find out that our population is 3 to 5 generations away from the family farm. Most of our children have never seen a green bean grow or picked (and eaten) a tomato straight from the field.
In 2010 we opened Stoney Creek Farm to the public with a U-Pick Community Garden and Rental Plots. We figured that we could grow our own food while benefiting our immediate community with an immediate source of fresh vegetables. What surprised us the most, was that the farm exploded in growth over the next four years with almost 1000 visitors and five different sources of income.
In the past couple of years we have had a tremendous amount of people ask us about how we started the farm, our background, and our purpose. Because multiple families have asked us to share our business model, our learning curve, and our investment in the farm, we created the conference “Sustainable Farm Living – Simplify Your Life”. This three day conference will provide information that will allow the attendees to be able start their own farm without breaking the bank. We will show you how to start small and grow your income sources over time, as you build your customer base.
You will be able to:
1. Grow your own healthy food and teach others how to do so
2. Create income sources around your areas of interest, and
3. Simplify your life for maximum enjoyment in a minimalist environment
In the process, you can become debt-free and create a life with less stress and more passion.
I hope you will join us at Stoney Creek Farm in Franklin Tennessee on May 7- 9, 2015 for our Sustainable Farm Living – Simplify Your Life Conference.
For more information and to register:
Stoney Creek Farm
4700 Coe Lane
Franklin, Tennessee 37064