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Rural tourism workshop set for May 23-24
POPLARVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi’s small towns and rural communities have a lot to offer visitors, and developing those tourism resources will be the focus of a two-day workshop at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville.
The May 23-24 event offered by the Mississippi State University Extension Service is the first in the Growing Your Brand workshop series, which will focus on agritourism, farmers markets and local foods.
“Interest in locally produced food is an important trend in tourism, and the workshop will feature a tour of farms that welcome visitors to see how food is grown,” said Rachael Carter of the Extension Center for Government and Community Development.
One of the stops on the tour will be Shroomdom Inc.
“Shroomdom is a place where visitors can step into The Enchanted Forest and learn about proper mushroom identification of known wild edibles, proper harvesting techniques and known deadly look-alikes,” said Shroomdom’s Leilani Rosenbaum. “We are part of the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network and also grow seasonal produce.”
Other tour stops will include Country Girl’s Creamery and Red Bank Ranch bison farm.
“The workshop will also incorporate stories about local history and culture to help the attendees understand how all aspects fit together to brand a region and create a marketable tourism product,” Carter said.
Speakers for the storytelling part of the program will include State Representative Herb Frierson and Mississippi author Martin Hegwood.
Other speakers will discuss developing, branding, and marketing rural and agritourism resources. One speaker is Ben Muldrow of Arnett, Muldrow and Associates, who will discuss branding for Mississippi agritourism.
“Agritourism is a growing sector of Mississippi agriculture that is stimulating economic activity on our farms and in our rural communities. It provides our farmers and landowners with a unique opportunity to demonstrate the importance of agriculture, while educating consumers, both young and old, on where their food actually comes from,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith. “This workshop will be important in providing our growers with the tools needed to advance this industry even more.”
The workshop is open to anyone with an interest in agritourism, local foods and other topics related to small town and rural economic development. Additional information and registration is available at http://bit.ly/1ScwCkR.