Stecoah Kitchen Entrepreneurship - Agri-Tourism Project

Project Overview

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2007: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Beth Fields
Stecoah Valley Arts, Crafts and Educational Center
Beth Fields
Stecoah Valley Arts, Crafts & Educational Center, Inc.


  • Agronomic: corn, potatoes, rice
  • Fruits: apples, bananas, berries (other), berries (cranberries), cherries, citrus, melons, peaches, pears, pineapples, berries (strawberries)
  • Nuts: hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts
  • Vegetables: sweet potatoes, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, celery, cucurbits, garlic, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, rutabagas, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips
  • Additional Plants: herbs, native plants, ornamentals
  • Animals: bees, poultry, swine, fish
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, study circle, workshop
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, community services, social networks, sustainability measures, community development


    The project was successful as it accomplished the original goals identified. First, the project provided the tools necessary for food-entrepreneurship endeavors, including a commercial kitchen facility and technical training to assist in the production of value-added agricultural products. Secondly, the project offered educational opportunities through a series of “Heritage Foods” classes. Finally, the project offered experiential learning opportunities through special events, including a dinner series and festivals. The overall effect was to help sustain the agricultural community by creating an awareness of and demand for their farm-fresh products whether used for value-added products, retail sale or in the dining experience.


    The Stecoah Kitchen Entrepreneurship & Agri-tourism Project will help improve local and regional economic conditions through a variety of food-related services, activities and events. First, the existing shared-use commercial kitchen facility project (commonly known as Stecoah Valley Food Ventures) will continue to provide the tools necessary for farmers and food entrepreneurs to profitably produce value-added agricultural products. This part of the project offers the opportunity for individual entrepreneurial success while sustaining the agricultural community and heritage of the area.

    Second, a new Heritage Foods series that focuses on traditional Appalachian foods and foodways will be offered as a part of this project. This series will include cooking classes taught in our commercial kitchen and other venues, as well as other food-related classes taught in both indoor and “outdoor classroom” settings.

    The third part of the project includes special events such as the Appalachian Dinner Series, Country Fair and a new Wildlife Festival that will also focus on our mountain traditions and will kindle a renewed interest in local foods and foodways. Both the classes and events will be planned to help attract and keep cultural/heritage and agri-tourists in the local area. The results of the project will be an increase in local entrepreneurship, new growth in tourism as a sustainable revenue source and continued support for the agricultural community.

    Project objectives:

    The project includes three major objectives to help improve local economic conditions:

    1. To provide farmers, growers and food entrepreneurs the tools necessary to profitably engage in a food-based small business, i.e. to produce and sell value-added agricultural or nature-based products.
    2. To provide cultural/heritage and agri-tourists food and nature based educational opportunities through kitchen cooking, typical classroom and outdoor classroom experiences.
    3. To provide cultural/heritage and agri-tourists other opportunities to experience food-based or agriculture related activities through special events such as the Appalachian Dinner Series, Country Fair and the new Wildlife Festival.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.