© 2024 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Funk Farms in McLean County celebrates bicentennial anniversary

wide shot of a farm shed
courtesy
/
Funk Farms
Funk Farms will celebrate its 200th anniversary this year

Two hundred years ago, Funk Farms planted its roots in the soil of McLean County. The corn, soybean and cattle farm 10 miles south of Bloomington in rural Shirley will soon celebrate its bicentennial by engaging the community and showcasing its history during an event Saturday.

sign that reads "Funk farms"
courtesy
/
Funk Farms
Funk Farms will celebrate its 200th anniversary this year.

“We’re trying to incorporate everything we can to kind of tell each layer," general manager Brian Bangert said. “There will be farm equipment, old and new, so if a person wanted to visualize and walk through history you should be able to see things represented there that are start-to-finish what it looked like in 1824 to equipment that you might see today on a farm.”

With 200 years of business under its belt, the best place to start when explaining its history is the beginning.

“The rich history that the farm has under its belt started in 1824 when Isaac and Cassandra settled in Funks Grove,” Bangert said. “Over the course of their lifetime [they] accumulated over 20,000 acres of farmland.”

A lot can change over 200 years, but Bangert believes Funk Farms has always stood on legacy. However, the family name is not the only thing to stand the test of time. With new generations and upgraded equipment there is not much that has remained unchanged, but legacy is not the only thing Funk farms has always stood on.

“They recognized right away, I feel, that there’s something very unique about the soil,” Bangert said. “It’s capable of being so incredibly productive. They recognized the value of that. They recognized that manure and the compost on the farm was put back into the soil, and the soil is as good as [or] probably close to what it was.”

cows on a farm
courtesy
/
Funk Farms
The 200th anniversary festival will take place from 12-5 p.m. Saturday at Funk Farms. It will include a panel discussion and the release of a book.

Saturday's 200th anniversary festival will also feature a retail vendor market and the introduction of a specialty beer from Keg Grove Brewing Co. Bangert explained the reason behind incorporating local businesses.

“The community has supported us by buying from our farms [and] buying from our butcher shops, but we don’t have everything a person needs,” Bangert said. “So when you walk into our retail store, you can buy milk from Little Brown Cow Dairy, or buy honey from a nearby apiary.”

The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Funk Farms. It will include a panel discussion and the release of a book entitled Pioneers Built from the Soil Up Book: How the Funk Family Shaped American History.

The Funk Prairie Home and Gem and Mineral Museum will also be open for tours.

More information is available at FunkFarms200.com.

Colleen Holden is a student reporting intern. She joined the station in 2024.