Preserving Heritage and Nurturing Sustainability: The Williamson Family Farm in Murfreesboro



History of the Farm and the Visionary Williamson Family

Since 1953, the Williamson family has held stewardship over a sprawling 200+ acre farm, nestled within the ever-expanding city of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The family farm, The Grove Williamson Family Farminitially established by Toni Turner and Mark Williamson’s parents, primarily operated as a dairy farm, with additional commodity crops gracing its fertile soil. However, in 1988, like many small family farms, the time came to cease farming operations. Remarkably, Toni and Mark chose not to transform the land into a subdivision, a fate that befell countless other farms in every direction.

In 2016, with a desire for revenue generation and  a strong commitment to their family’s legacy, the Williamson family began renting out their barn and other buildings for events. They also initiated a U-Pick operation during the summer months, offering a slice of the farm experience to their community. But it wasn’t until 2020 that Toni and Mark took substantial steps toward the farm’s better development, aspiring to preserve the heritage of their region. This heritage, once a farming community, is now a bustling suburb of Nashville.

“So what makes a farmer farm? What made my farmer dad farm? I never asked him that question, but here is what I believe. I believe that when God made my dad, he made him to be a farmer. But not just any farmer, he made him to be a fantastic farmer. So what I believe….is that when my dad stepped on this land, the farm became a part of him, and he became a part of the farm. And as he followed his vision of service, at the deepest level, with the soil, the crops, the cows, the family, he knew that this was what he and my mom were meant to be…and they could feel God’s pleasure.” ~ Mark Williamson

RelatedIt nearly missed sideswiping me’: City seeks to reroute Asbury Ln by Medical Center Pkwy

Over the Years

Since its establishment in 1953, the Williamson family’s 200+ acre farm has served
as a testament to the enduring spirit of family farming.
Today, their multi-generational farm is reimagining the role of small farms in a rapidly evolving world.

A bold vision drives the Williamson family as they seek to collaborate with a dedicated farm manager to transform THE GROVE WILLIAMSON FAMILY FARMtheir 240-acre farm into a showcase of sustainability, producing Regenerative Organic Certified™ crops, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, and more. These crops will be an integral part of both private and public events held on the farm. Additionally, plans are underway to introduce animals to support agritourism events, expanding the farm’s educational and experiential offerings.

Related: Dairy Business Initiative Expanding Across the Southeast

The Farming Operations are considered the “soul” of the operation. This learning farm carefully selects crops and practices that align with the principles of sustainability and regenerative agriculture. Before each growing season, meticulous planning takes place to ensure that the farm can move closer to its goal of producing a significant portion of the food consumed at the public and private events right on the farm.

Mark Williamson & Rep. Mike Sparks w/ Bryan Barrett on WGNS Show

The day-to-day farm activities are led by a carefully selected farmer who employs next-generation farming methods and actively contributes to the development of the farm’s educational programming. Partnerships are being forged with institutions like the University of Tennessee to provide internships and research opportunities aimed at strengthening family farming. Collaborating with the state extension service will further ensure innovative farm practices and management techniques.

Fruit crops currently include a delightful array of blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, lavender, pumpkins, ornamental corn, flowers, sorghum, and potentially more. An orchard area showcases the growth of apples, peaches, pears, and sweet cherries.

Related: Williamson Family Farm touts agritourism business off Medical Center Parkway and I-24

The Future

The Williamson Family Farm is poised for a transformational journey, with a significant investment of $20 million dollars planned over the next three years. This ambitious investment reflects their unwavering commitment to the farm’s legacy and the sustainable, educational, and experiential goals they have set for themselves.

The Williamson Family Farm has become a living, breathing testament to the power of preservation and sustainability. It harmoniously blends small farm heritage with innovative practices, demonstrating how small farms can thrive in a changing world. Additionally, sustainability is a core aspect of their farm practices, incorporating the use of solar energy. Their dedication to preserving heritage, embracing sustainability, and fostering education ensures that The Williamson Family Farm will remain an essential part of the Murfreesboro community for generations to come.