Oskaloosa hosts agritourism seminar



Agritourism seminar

Photo by Rick Nichols
Flanked on her right by Cheri Bowers, Cindy Williams, Meadowlark District extension agent, displays two framed miniature barn quilt blocks similar to the full-size blocks that can be found on barns and other agricultural-related structures along the Kansas Flint Hills Quilt Trail. Also pictured are Allen Wise, left, and Dave Taylor.


by Rick Nichols
The first-ever Jefferson County Agritourism Seminar drew about 35 people to the Oskaloosa area the evening of Nov. 19 for a chance to either learn more about this relatively new concept or share the knowledge and cumulative experience at their disposal with others.
The event was hosted by Colonial Acres Floral, Antiques & Guesthouse, whose large meeting room next to the combination floral and antique shop was where the attendees gathered for a meal of pizza and breadsticks before the first of several speakers representing resource partners rose to address the group. The speakers included Brittany Chaplin, the county’s Economic Development director, who also served as the moderator. Her presentation was highlighted by the announcement that the Jefferson County Food Council, which is only a year old, had been selected to receive a $10,000 grant from the Kansas Health Foundation (see story in last week’s paper).
The attendees also heard from Sue Stringer with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism, Stacy Mayo with From the Land of Kansas, Teresa McAnerney, a facilitator with Northeast Kansas Enterprise Facilitation, David Key, director of Meadowlark Extension District, extension agent Cindy Williams, and Dave Taylor, co-owner of Colonial Acres and owner of Taylor Insurance Services.
Given the floor, Williams talked about the Kansas Flint Hills Quilt Trail and the opportunity that this project represents for Jefferson County residents to help bring tourists to the county by making good use of their creative talents. As of now, according to the website www.ksflinthillsquilttrail.blogspot.com, the trail does not include any stops in this county.
During his remarks, Taylor heaped praise on Jefferson County as a place to live and do business and addressed the need for the owners of tourist-oriented operations to work together whenever possible to make the county stronger and more diversified from an economic standpoint. “We’re not in competition to put each other out of business,” he said. “We’re in competition to help each other.”
So what exactly is agritourism? Well, here is how Kansas Travel & Tourism has described it on the website www.travelks.com:
“Agritourism attracts tourists who participate in activities on a working farm, ranch or at a lodge, outfitter, winery or other agricultural operation. These activities might include outdoor recreation, activities, educational experiences or opportunities to shop, dine or stay in Kansas, all while supporting Kansas agricultural producers. These activities help to sustain the rural way of life and keep more producers on our Kansas lands.”
Also on hand for the seminar were Joy Mestagh with United Country Heart of America Real Estate and Auction, Mestagh’s niece, Mable Mestagh, who is a student at McLouth High School, Mike Nickels with Nickels Farms – Old School Guide Service, teacher, photographer and farmer Heather O’Neal, Stephanie Lambert-Barth and Scott Barth with Steph’s Garden, County Commissioner Wayne Ledbetter, Mary Ann Riederer with the Washburn Small Business Development Center, Allen and Becky Wise with United Country, Cole Roberts with First State Bank & Trust, Brian Dennis with the KU Small Business Development Center, David and Danielle Tegtmeier with Liquid Art Winery, Lori Henderson with Crooked Post Winery, Susie Deeken with Denison State Bank, Nancy Dailey with Dailey Ag, Erin Shaw with Highland Community College, farmer Sophie Divney, Kay Crossley, Cheri Bowers, Joseph Lamborn, Doug and Sandy Walbridge, and Denise Spainhower, a member of the board of directors for the county’s Economic Development Commission. Roberts and Mrs. Wise also serve on the board. Divney and Shaw belong to the Food Council.
Listed as resource partners for the seminar were the KU Small Business Development Center, the Washburn Small Business Development Center, Meadowlark Extension District, From the Land of Kansas, Kansas Travel & Tourism, Glacial Hills Resource, Conservation and Development Region Inc., the Rural Development Association of Northeast Kansas, Northeast Kansas Enterprise Facilitation, Taylor Insurance Services, Jefferson County Economic Development, the Food Council, Jefferson County Housing and Redevelopment, and Jefferson County Think Local First.
Meadowlark Extension District, the Washburn Small Business Development Center and Glacial Hills sponsored the meal.
NKEF’s McAnerney picked up “the tab,” if you will, for dessert.

Short URL: http://www.jeffcountynews.com/?p=15209

Posted by on Dec 16 2015. Filed under Featured, The Independent. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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