Our participants had a great time learning about small-scale farming at the Eastern Kentucky Farmer Conference! The third annual Eastern Kentucky Farmer Conference was held on February 22 and 23 at the University of Kentucky’s Robinson Center in Jackson, KY. Five of our site’s Grow Appalachia participants received scholarships to attend.

These participants want to expand their home gardens and sell their excess produce at the Knott County Farmers Market. This conference was full of relevant learning opportunities. They learned about  the production and business sides of farming from experts from University of Kentucky and other authoritative sources.


The food production workshops included Maximizing High Tunnels, Orchards in the Mountains, Bees and Honey: Managing Hives, Practical Plasticulture: A Crash Course, Growing Profit with Agroforestry, Tapping into Maple, Going Organic Don’t Panic!, and Mushrooms: Fun with Fungi.

The agribusiness workshops included Adding Value to Your Farm Product, Marketready Lite, Funding and Your Farm, Risky Business: Crop Insurance and the Small Farm, Marketing Local Meat, Can I Write that Off? Practical Taxes, The Why and How of Financials, Farm Legal Concerns, and Promoting Your Farm through Social Media.

After Hours

After a full day of learning on Friday, we sat down to a local foods feast. The dinner featured locally-sourced corn, green beans, sweet potatoes, and blackberries. Afterwards, we cleared the chairs and tables from main conference room to make way for a dance floor. Local musicians Andy Duckworth, Brett Ratliff, Ron Penn, and Stephanie Jeter played traditional Appalachian tunes for the square dance. Randy Wilson was the caller. Instructors danced right alongside farmers, breaking down communication barriers between expert and student.

This year’s Eastern Kentucky Farmer Conference provided practicable skills and networking opportunities in a comfortable environment. Our Grow Appalachia participants left full of food and full of knowledge to use on their farms.