I’ve had the pleasure of managing a number of learning journeys to interesting places, through my work with WealthWorks. The latest learning journey I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of was to the Millersburg, Kentucky area April 14-16. This was part of my work coordinating a rural learning community for NeighborWorks America focused on Building Assets: Strengthening Community in Low-Wealth Rural Areas. With members in Kentucky, Oklahoma, New Hampshire and Montana, this is a diverse group interested in having more successful outcomes in low-wealth rural areas. One member of the learning community was our host: Community Ventures Corporation (CVC), based in Lexington.
Much of our journey focused on the small community of Millersburg and the former Millersburg Military Institute (MMI), now Mustard Seed Hill, a beautiful event venue. CVC has been working on the redevelopment of MMI and has even more plans to come. Currently, a Christian day school is located in one of the buildings, with plans for a commercial kitchen/restaurant and some offices in another building, and a boarding school in another of the buildings. This was an incredible example of using an underutilized asset in rural economic development.
We also had the opportunity to visit Claiborne Farm, in Paris, which has been in operation for over 100 years. It is the birthplace of more than 75 Champions and 22 members of National Racing Museum’s Hall of Fame were foaled and/or raised at Claiborne. And we visited Hartfield & Co., also in Paris, the first bourbon distillery in Bourbon County since 1919. These visits showed the amazing assets nearby, and market demand, that development at Mustard Seed Hill can build upon.
Not all of our time was spent touring. We also spend time together discussing individual roadmaps for success in rural development, as well as a combined rural roadmap, which we’re in the process of collaboratively developing. We’ll be presenting our roadmap at a conference in September in Knoxville… more to come!
Mustard Seed Hill
Hartfield & Co.
1st bourbon distillery in Bourbon County since 1919
at Claiborne Farm