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Johnston County Visitors Bureau exterior and interior

Atkinson's MillProject Skill-UP 2015 hopes to provide the opportunity for a new generation of local farmers to train for agritourism. Through a series of classes, the program will provide the most current information on all aspects of agritourism for the county's farmers, vintners, brewers, and distillers as well as, a host of resources available to assist area farmers and businesses. The classes are made possible by the Johnston County Visitors Bureau, Cooperative Extension, and the JCC  Small Business Center through a grant by the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.

The project will consist of 3 free seminars and a tour of local successful agritourism businesses:

Agritourism: Then and Now was held on March 24th with speakers, Donna Bailey-Taylor, President of the Johnston County Visitors Bureau and Dr. Duarte Morais, Associate Professor, Equitable & Sustainable Tourism, from NCSU Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.  For those interested in receiving the Powerpoint notes and for those that did not make the session, the information will be posted on this website for each class.   

Ms. Bailey-Taylor spoke to the group on how the county got interested in development of agritourism back in 2001, and described the process of learning, starts, stops, new agritourism initiatives, and how the Johnston County Visitors Bureau has provided marketing support all along the way to assist area farmers succeed.

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Dr. Morais, a native of Portugal shared how he grew up with a home open to visitors, as his family early on entered a life of agritourism as a way to sustain the family farm.  Today, he is the Executive Director, of People First Tourism, a program that assists entrepreneurs with the skills needed to start an agritourism business.

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The additional classes are scheduled for the following dates, and area businesses, farmers, and food processors are invited to attend.  All classes (except the tour) will be held at the Lampe Meeting Room, N. Third Street, Smithfield.


Farm to Table presentation was held on April 28th with speakers from Pittsboro/Chatham county discussing how they work together and some of their successes. Neha M Shah has worked for Chatham County at the Pittsboro-Siler City CVB since Dec 1999. She has a Master of Science in Tourism and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, both from the University of Florida. She has contributed to three chapters in Have Fork Will Travel, published and presented academic papers internationally (topics include social media, entrepreneurship, culinary, rural tourism). She has won several marketing and branding awards from Destination Marketing Association of N.C.

Talking points of her presentation:

•    Our partners – CVB works with cooperative extension, farmers, restaurants, event coordinators, farmers’ markets, food organizations, media, People-First    Tourism, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Food Council, and more
•    Farm-to-fork – how it all works together among our agritourism offerings
•    Ways in which we can all work jointly
•    What works, what doesn’t, roles, successes, challenges
•    Why we should all focus on agritourism. What’s in it for us?

The presentation by Neha Shaw is provided here for those that could not attend the event.

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The next seminars will take place this fall -- hope these dates are on your calendar!

  • September 22nd - Agritourism Trails and Marketing - 7:00 PM
  • October 27th - Agri-Business Tour - Time TBD

Training topics will include defining agritourism, how to be profitable, and how to market an agritourism venture. In addition, the seminars will cover the logistics involved in operation including insurance and preparing a farm for visitors. All events are free (with the exception of the tour lunch charge) thanks to a grant from the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and to register, contact Rose Andrews at 919-209-2594 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.







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