- Education and Training: workshop
- Farm Business Management: agritourism
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems
In 2009, Eastern Kentucky Foothills Eco-Agritourism, Inc.,(FEAT) proposed a conference entitled New Opportunities on the Farm to be held in West Liberty, Kentucky with participants from the five county area of Carter, Elliott, Morgan, Wolfe, and Menifee. The purpose of the conference was to bring together members of the five FEAT counties for the purpose of networking ideas to revitalize the local economy with the establishment of rural businesses and the implementation of existing businesses or supporting businesses that were engaged in agritourism. An average of 48 people attended the three day conference to share ideas and to attend workshops that would help them bring their idea to fruition as a true business. In 2010 FEAT held a conference entitled It’s Your Idea; Make It Pay, which encouraged citizens of our five county region to take responsibility for the local economy by taking a leadership role in entrepreneurship. In the summer of 2011 FEAT held a third conference entitled Building Business From the Ground Up, which featured local agritourism entrepreneurs doing power points of their agritourism venues. These businesses plus local artists, artisans, and crafters were allowed to showcase their products. The 2012 conference, tentatively entitled Moving Beyond Our Boundaries, will invite main stream media into our area to move knowledge of what our area has to offer to potential tourists beyond the local boundaries.
FEAT’s mission is to make the five county region of Carter, Elliott, Menifee, Morgan, and Wolfe a tourist and cultural destination built on natural resources, artisans,artists, authors, musicians, agritourism venues, adventure tourism venues, and preservation and heritage projects. Our logo is FIVE COUNTIES; ONE DESTINATION. The red circe denotes the blood of our ancestors who forged a life in our region. The blue circle denotes the clean air and water of our area, while the green circle signifies the beauty of our green spaces. In the center is FEAT, providing an energy to hold all the circles together. The circles themselves embody the circle of life in our Eastern Kentucky region. Through networking of the five counties, and knowing that one county alone can do little while five counties acting as one can do much, we will build an economy on Kentucky’s two major sources of income, tourism and agriculture.
The objective was to build community awareness of eco/agri-tourism as an alternative enterprise for landowners and other entrepreneurs and its connection to overall economic development. This was initiated by building and strengthening leadership teams to work within each county. The teams received information and training in the development and operation of eco-agritourism enterprises to share with landowners and other entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs were then connected to technical and other assistance as they developed their enterprises and activities. Awareness of opportunities available through Kentucky State government for value added products and agritourism ventures were introduced to new entrepreneurs. Networking across county lines was encouraged so the five counties could work in tandem. Marketing strategies were designed for the five county region. Successes in the area was celebrated and publicized. Eventually bus tours will be conducted through the five county region showcasing agritourism and supporting businesses such as locally owned lodging and restaurants