About Me-Genesis of the Village

I am the first Villager @ the Village on Sewanee Creek.  I found some rural Tennessee Mountain Land in early 2006 and came here to find peace and more meaning, a confident lifestyle.  I had enjoyed a great career, but I was ready to re-invent myself.

For about 30 years I roamed the world, establishing some of America’s best known retail brands.  From Bangkok to Beijing, Tokyo to Tel Aviv, Manila to Mexico City.  I was International President of Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin Robbins and Papa John’s and developed 7-Eleven, Blockbuster and IHOP.  I ran operations with over 2,600 stores  in over 60 countries.

I paid my dues and was well paid in return.  The money was good, but the most valuable pay I received was in experience, not the corporate kind.  My travels made it possible to observe life and cultures from the board room to the kitchen prep room.  I trained black guys in Apartheid South Africa and Indian serfs in Kuwait to make Pizza in the mid 80’s.  I ate “exotic” meats in primitive villages outside Manila and Seoul that might make you gag.  I also dined at the some of finest restaurants in Tokyo, Paris, Dubai and São Paulo, sometimes with billionaires.

In the end, I confirmed the truth that possessions will own you.  Freedom is in you.  Henry David Thoreau was right.  I searched for my own Walden’s Pond and launched myself into an advanced self-education course, majoring in true economy.  I wanted to become self-sufficient.  I wanted to live deliberately, in control of my life, making a difference for others.

Thankfully, I was blessed with a patient, understanding and supportive wife and children who were also ready for change.  We purchased about 750 acres on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, downsized our house from 5,000 to 1,400 square feet and began learning how to really live, applying what I had learned in my world travels and climbing a steep new learning curve.

This BLOG chronicles some of my thoughts and experiences in the rural wilderness of Tennessee.  I have come to love my new life.  It has not been easy.  Just as I launched into building my ideal community the real estate market cratered followed a year later by the whole economy.  But ironically, the deeper the recession, the more people were interested in what we are doing.   They are the cream of America.  Strong willed, independent, accomplished freedom lovers.  Yet they are not hippies, hermits or vigilantes.   They just want to live a vibrant life with others who care and can enrich their lives with diverse perspectives and talents.

My friendships are deeper.  I am healthier and stronger.  My family is closer and wiser. We work hard.  We strive for self-sufficiency in water, food and energy.  We experiment a lot and constantly discover how little we know.   And we have fun.

15 thoughts on “About Me-Genesis of the Village

  1. Grant,

    I love what you’re doing. I am the founder of Destee-Nation Shirt Co. The concept has been very well received and so I’ve sold my interest (entirely) and now plan to take the same idea into the “green” market. If you have a moment please visit Destee-Nation. Each fashionable t-shirt comes with a story about the entity it represents. Customers love our products and we’ve been successful selling at Nordstrom and Sundance Retail. Anyway, in a similar way, I plan to use fashion to educate folks about sustainable lifestyle.

    I just wanted to introduce myself to you for now. It would be interesting to discuss using the strength of brand as an educational tool someday. You seem like just the guy for this sort of engagement.

    – Matt


  2. Your endeavor describes much of the dream we have had. We are already owners of over 60 acres in Giles County Tennessee north of Minor Hill, adjacent to two other families with similar values to those you have described on your website. I would have loved to have known about your development before we bought our land. We need to be closer to our son who lives in Florence due to his need of having us near him due to family struggles so Giles Co. works for us although not as picturesque as your acreage.

    We would love to have the privilege of seeing how you have implemented some of the things we would like to do. We plan to work cooperatively together to establish our little community.

    When might you be available for such a visit?


  3. What a great project!! I would love to see pictures of the containers once you have modified them. I sell storage containers, so I am always excited when people use them in new and creative ways. Using containers as buildings is definitely gaining traction right now, and the possibilities seem endless!

    I would agree with all of your selling points except for one. It is a popular misconception that containers are piling up. They are not. It is completely subject to our import/export ratio and right now, we are exporting more than importing, so right now, there are fewer of them available than before. However, that does change with the economy so hopefully we’ll see more containers again soon!

    In the meantime, I would really love to see more pictures of your project!!



  4. Ok I have been reading thru more of you’re blog! I love and agree with what you’re saying!! But I must say I’m kind of a hippie 🙂
    Can’t wait to see the property in person! Can you post more pics of the actual lots or did you already and I just haven’t found them yet?!

    Thanks again,


    • Thanks, Jess.
      The blog is getting pretty long, but if you read far enough you’ll also find that I don’t like labels. There are several posts where I comment that I like liberals even though I don’t consider myself one. That’s because liberals tend to have some wonderful qualities that are compatible with our core principles even though our ideas on government are different. For me, core principles and behaviors trump political views every day. Same thing can be said for hippies. Give me a friendly, hard working, resourceful hippie as a neighbor any day over a mean spirited conservative. I have never considered myself a hippie, but as long as you believe in and act as if you value the golden rule, personal freedom, independence, self-sufficiency and community, you can call yourself anything you like. Welcome to the Village!

      Re: Pictures of lots, I had originally intended to post a lot more photos to the website, but I find it cumbersome to edit. Our private forum called Friends of Sewanee Creek contains thousands of photos that are indexed by lot number, season, features, etc along with lots of content on self-sufficient living, world views, etc. I generally send an invitation and password to people who request more info about the Village.


      • Hello Grant, my wife and 15 year old daughter live in Franklin, TN. I have practiced Chinese Medicine here for 8 1/2 years. I discovered your website for the Village while surfing for the best places to survive in America. We have been educating ourselves in the art of preparation and survival for 2 years now. We are looking to get out of the greater Nashville area in order to reconnect with seasonal cyclical living, something I preach to my patients on a daily basis. Has their been a discussion about each household’s skillset and how that plays towards the Village’s survival, if the worst case scenario were to occur? Do you currently have residents with a medical background?


  5. Hi,
    Found your site on AVOW.
    If you like reading perhaps you will read
    Peace For Your Home by Marie Reed

    Along with freezing cooked eggs, can you also wipe the eggs down with mineral oil?


  6. @Keith Coley,
    Thanks for your interest.

    Yes, we have an ongoing dialog about this and many other topics related to our collective well being, prepareness, health and happiness on our private board called “Friends of Sewanee Creek”. Since you shared your email address, I’ll send you an invitation. You will find a wealth of information cataloged there on self-sufficient living and can interact with others of like mind.

    While we do not yet have other residents with certified medical backgrounds, we are actively seeking people with these as well as other critical skills. On FOSC you will also find a detailed list of the skills and resources we actively seek to develop here.

    I look forward to welcoming you to our online community and your active participation, whether as a resident or a friend.

    All the best, Grant


  7. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site? My blog site is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would definitely benefit from some of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Thanks a lot!


  8. Your village is amazing. I know I will never be able to live there, not educated or affluent enough, but I am going to try and incorporate some of your wonderful ideas right here at my little homestead. Thank you for showing me it can be done…now I just gotta find out exactly how you did it 🙂


    • D, thank you for your comment. But don’t sell yourself short. There are lots of amazing people who don’t hold high degrees or wealth. Some of them live here.
      It can be done, but we’re not done and never will be done. I hope we will always be about becoming and helping each other become something better. Your last sentence is a pretty good indicator that you have that desire.


  9. Are you serious?

    Divine intervention sent us there. I had no idea what you stood for, that it was a community. We need a mentor, something not behind the gate, like here. The best of the Farm exists outside the gates, not bound by labels.

    I really wish I’d done better research.

    Meredith aka Jackie D.


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