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“How I Fell in Love with our Farm”

OK, I have to admit that I fell in love with the place immediately. A creek with a stone bed winds almost through the entire farm, and lends its identity to the name of our property: Stoney Creek Farm. In the spring we have about a quarter acre of yellow daffodils (otherwise known as buttercups) growing all around the creek.  In the summer the native Yucca plants bloom a field of white.  We are abundantly rich with native wildlife, trees and plants and it’s a beautiful and peaceful place to live.


Our residence is actually a pole barn design, complete with steel beams and stained concrete floor, finished inside as a house. Olin has always enjoyed repurposing and recycling materials, and this barn/house was the perfect experiment for him. One of our biggest conversation pieces is the pair of 100-year-old barn doors lining the dining room wall. He also built two full 12’x60′ porches on the front and back of the barn for more outdoor living space, and a three car garage on the end of the barn with lots of room for a freezer, extra refrigerator and storage.  Later, Olin finished the upstairs hayloft into a large bonus room bedroom and third full bathroom in the barn.

barn picture for ads

This hybrid barn/house has proven to be comfortable, simple, and very sustainable. By building a pole barn with metal there is very little maintenance for at least 30 years. The only maintenance is replacement of the screws that hold the metal every 10 years.

The concrete floors are also very easy to maintain and keep clean. Olin also built a smaller barn and workshop with two more garage bays and horse stalls in the back. We determined that it was too much work and too much money for us to maintain our own horses, but sometime in the future we may be able to board horses as another source of income, so I’m glad we have the stalls.

We’ve experimented unsuccessfully with small fruit orchards (cedar rust and thieving raccoons) and meat goats (coyotes), but we still have a few goats for kids to pet when they come to visit, and may decide to breed again one day.

Goat and Olin

After these learning experiences, in 2011 we decided to offer rental gardens and a U-Pick Garden. In Williamson County there is a huge amount of people living in apartments, condos, and homes with small lots. We felt that many of these people would like to grow their own healthy food, and with our backgrounds in farming we were hoping that we could help them do so.
garden best

Our goal does not revolve solely around making money, it’s about helping people to see the benefits of sustainable farm living… benefits which I call less stress, more joy.  As a former part of the rat race, I know the value of healthy living with lower stress, because my blood pressure went down almost immediately when I left Xerox to concentrate full-time on growing our sustainable farm model.


The farm has been full of surprises, allowing me to stretch my interests and create opportunities to teach those things no longer taught in schools, or even passed down in family traditions, things like Canning, Making Sourdough Bread, and much more. I have also taken painting classes and now sell paintings and teach painting (occasionally) at the farm. All these things simply bring us a great deal of joy, and we want to share our joy with you, whether you want to learn how you also can permanently get out of the corporate rat race, or just need a break from it on the weekend.


So stop by and see us, and see your kids laugh as they play with our silly goats, miles away from the nearest video game. Feel your body relax as you walk among the flowers and pick your own vegetables outside in the fresh air, and not under fluorescent lights while freezing to death in the air-conditioned maze of some anonymous big box store.  Maybe even take your shoes off, and dig your feet into the dirt wealth that nourishes so many people, on so many levels. Whatever the reason for the city scowl you might arrive with, you’ll have a country smile by the time you leave.


Never Say Never…

A lot of people who visit the farm ask me what I did to prepare myself for a life of sustainable farm living. Some of my friends and visitors only know that I had a career in corporate America, most recently with Xerox, and of course it would be easy to be confused about how a sales career with Xerox might prepare one for a life on the farm!

Family Pic 1960

Some people would say that I had a tough childhood, but I know that God uses all circumstances for His good and His purpose. My childhood helped to make me stronger and shape me into the person that I am
today.  I was born in Humboldt Tennessee, but moved to Texas when I was 2 years old. My mother and father unfortunately had marital difficulties, which ultimately ended in their separation and divorce, and
my mother eventually moved my brother and me back to Tennessee so that she could raise us around her supportive family. Mom was the oldest of 11 children, with her youngest sister only 3 years older than me. My grandparents, aunts, and uncles were very good to us and provided wonderful role models for my brother and I to look up to.

During this time, we lived on a small farm rented to us by my mother’s sister and brother-in-law. My brother and I learned how to work on the farm in the large garden that we had behind the house. That garden provided a substantial amount of food for our family that we could not have done without. My mom’s job only paid minimum wage, so that garden made a huge difference in how well we ate throughout the year. We also learned farm work from Uncle Brance and Aunt Joyce who let us work for them by chopping weeds out of the cotton fields. It was hot, hard work that taught me the value of a dollar and kept me out of trouble.  It also motivated me to go to college so that I did not have to do farm work the rest of my life. I specifically remember telling my family “I will never, ever marry a farmer or live on a farm.” 

You never should say: “Never;” God has a way of making you eat your words.

As a typical teenager, I would have said I hated working in the garden, chopping weeds, or canning vegetables, but there are some things I remember now that bring back a lot of great memories… my mama’s candy pickles, canned green beans, purple hull peas, grape jelly, and peaches. If we hadn’t moved back to Tennessee I would’ve never learned all the wonderful things that my mother taught me, in the summers during the garden season. I still remember all the smells of pickling, blanching, and canning all the wonderful fruits of our labor.

In Tennessee I was able to make the deep-rooted relationships I’d missed during our nomadic days in Texas. Mom took us to church every Sunday, and I know that my faith has brought me through some difficult times.

My mother insisted that we go to college. She did not want us working minimum wage jobs, like she was forced to do after she and my father split up.  Since we didn’t have a lot of money, I knew that I needed to get scholarships to be able to go to college. So I worked hard and because of my grades I received several scholarships that allowed me to attend Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro Tennessee, although I still had to work (more than one job) during college. After I graduated. I had several job offers, and I took the one that paid the most, as a Kroger store manager trainee starting at $19,000 per year…Not bad money for the 80s. Kroger at that time was promoting women and diversity in their stores and corporate office so I had an eight-year career with them, first in store management and later in floral merchandising.

In Kroger’s excellent management training program, I learned how to cut meat, merchandise the store, ensure food safety, human resource skills, inventory control, and relationship management with the union. Retail hours were not fun but I advanced quickly and thoroughly enjoyed my career. One of the most memorable experiences I had was being able to visit all of the floral growing areas in California. I flew into San Francisco and the Wesco rep drove down the coast all the way to San Diego. I not only learned a lot about the floral business but I also learned a lot about produce being grown in California. I had never seen an artichoke or avocados growing in the field until that trip.

During my tenure at Kroger, I lost my mother to a sudden, fatal heart attack.  She was only 47 years old.  I cannot tell you how much that event has shaped my life from that point on.  I was very close to my mother, who had devoted her whole life to raising my brother and me in the best way she knew how.  I was 24 when she died and the void that was left in my heart could never be filled.  Time and faith has healed my wounds,
but there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and her many sacrifices to make sure our family stayed together. I learned that every day is a gift from God and I want to honor her and our family by living life to the fullest and serving others…a meaningful legacy that she would be proud of.


Leigh in 1990 with Allison

Shortly after my mother passed away,  I married and five years later, had my daughter.  I realized that retail hours were not conducive to family life. Sometimes I would close the store at midnight and have to be back the next morning at 6 AM so it didn’t take long to get sleep deprived, especially with a newborn. So I started looking at some of the vendors for Kroger for possible job opportunities and found the plant manager position at a regional fresh vegetable processing facility. This position afforded me regular hours and a more flexible schedule with my newborn daughter. The food processing plant helped me to learn about production requirements, quality control, tight inventory turn and much more. After three years in plant management, I moved into a regional marketing director position, and learned valuable marketing skills such as branding, sales, and customer relationship management. I also had the privilege of rolling out a new product line, which was fresh fruit that would last 10 days with no preservatives. The process was unique and involved boiling the fruit (like cantaloupe and honeydew) for a specified amount of time to kill all bacteria on the fruit’s outer skin. The boiling time was critical so that it did not cook the fruit. It was a total secret because we could not patent the process and we didn’t want competitors finding this out.

During my marketing director term, I discovered that the owners of this regional company were positioning it for sale nationally, so I began searching for another career, and was eventually hired into a corporate sales position with Xerox. Xerox definitely had one of the best sales training programs in the country, and I was blessed to have the opportunity to work there. This was hard work of a different kind, but I stuck it out and developed a successful career path over the next 17 years. I started out as an account manager working with a local territory and ended up as a production sales specialist covering parts of seven states. The large ticket equipment I sold yielded a very generous compensation package…for which I felt very blessed.

During my 17 years at Xerox, I went through a divorce, continued to raise my daughter (with a lot of help from her father), then met and married my soul mate, Olin Funderburk, and, despite my earlier promise to never find myself back on a farm, moved with him, all but ‘kicking and screaming’, to a small 15 acre farm in Williamson County.

Leigh and Olin married

      The rest, as they say, is history.  (To be continued…)


                “How I Fell in Love with our Farm”













Sustainable Farm Living – Simplify Your Life – April 14-15, 2016 Conference

The purpose of this conference is to educate individuals and families on the benefits of Sustainable Living/Farming and how to simplify your life without breaking the bank.

The SFL conference will include topics on:
sustainable housing
sources of farm income
growing healthy food (without pesticides)
preserving food
farm animals (their purpose)
composting and soil testing
marketing your farm
agricultural green belt
networking opportunities

A variety of guest speakers will cover their expertise on:
herbs – friends with benefits
canning and preserving food
healthy juicing and healing meals
farm animals and their care
sourdough and kefir
small scale greenhouse production

The Funderburk’s have spent 10 years developing their dream, a small sustainable farm, that produces five different income streams. Their mission revolves around teaching individuals and families to grow their own healthy food, by renting garden plots and offering a summer U-Pick Garden to the community. They also host Educational Seminars, farm tours, and have a venue for local events/parties.

Formerly in corporate sales for a multimillion dollar company, Leigh spends her days managing their 15 acre farm in beautiful Williamson County, Tennessee. Olin has been in the construction business for over 30+ years and working toward his eventual retirement.

The two day conference schedule is as follows:
– Thursday morning 8:30 am, overview of conference, lunch at the farm, networking dinner at the farm
– Friday 8:30 am start, lunch at the Farm, dinner at the Farm, networking and sharing, conference wrap up

Cost $397 per person which includes meals and all conference materials.  There is a BNI connection discount for people who qualify; feel free to call 615-591-0015 to ask about the discount.


Do you know what you are eating? You can know…by growing your own healthy food at Stoney Creek Farm in Franklin, TN. We have garden rental plots in multiple sizes to fit any families’ needs. Never had a garden? No problem…we educate you on how to grow a successful garden.

Garden Rentals (one price April – October):
10’x10′  $75
10x’20’  $100
20’x30′  $125 (best value)

For more information, visit our website http://www.stoneycreek.farm, call 615-591-0015, or e-mail us at stoneycreekfarmtennessee@gmail.com.




Learn how to make Milk Kefir at home for a fraction of the cost of buying it at the grocery store. Milk Kefir is one of the easiest cultured foods to make–even easier than yogurt! Step-by-step instructions including information on where to obtain a Milk Kefir culture (also known as Milk Kefir Grains).

Scientists, farmers and businesses have debated how to make agriculture sustainable, but how will farming around the world adapt to help create a food secure, resource efficient global farming culture? This animation from SAB Miller looks at some of the pros and cons of different sized farms in a bid to stimulate an informed debate about the future of farming.

Dean is a 1994 graduate of the University of Chicago with an AB in Economics. After being a floor based derivative market maker for a few years, he moved to Philadelphia and then Dublin to trade convertible bond securities. Always bothered by the assumption of infinite growth in the field of economics, Dean became interested in how this assumption affects agriculture. After discovering the concept of sustainable agriculture, Dean changed careers and became a full time farmer.

He purchased the 350+ acre Wyebrook Farm in Northern Chester County and set out to farm it sustainably. He raises 100% grass fed beef, heritage breed pigs in the woods and poultry out on pasture. Dean and his team sell hand-butchered meats in a fully restored 18th century stone barn on the property. Dean believes that it is important for people to have a real connection with their food and that buying food from the place it originated is a satisfying way to do this.

Want to teach your kids about sustainable living on a farm?  We have a farm tour that teaches the entire family about how we use nature’s resources to provide sustainable living at Stoney Creek.  The tour covers:

Recycling and Re-inventing
Rainwater Capture
Using beneficial insects instead of pesticides
Our blue-line creek
and much more….

The 45 minute learning experience is only $5 per person and can be scheduled throughout the summer for groups of twenty or more.

For more information, call/text 615-591-0015, e-mail leigh_funderburk@bellsouth.net or visit our website http://www.stoneycreekfarmtennessee.com