Elbert County Agricultural Alliance has high hopes for home

October event in Elizabeth park could include site unveiling


The Elbert County Agricultural Alliance, in collaboration with Elizabeth Parks and Recreation, will hold its third annual Homestead Fair on Oct. 10 at Casey Jones Park in Elizabeth.

Diane Cribley, founder of ECAA, said the alliance hopes to unveil the future site of the alliance’s Homestead Education Center at that time. ECAA has been looking for a place to build the education center since the alliance was formed nearly three years ago as a way to provide support for agriculturally based businesses in Elbert County.

“We are going to be building the center at Casey Jones Park, on some of the land that the parks and rec just bought,” said Cribley. “We don’t know for sure yet what it will look like, but we know there will be gardens with native plants, maybe a permaculture food forest and livestock education area.”

Many members of ECAA are small, rural and agriculturally based businesses, including animal husbandry, wellness-based production, growing for markets and agritourism. The ECAA was founded to help business owners collaborate and share resources, education and marketing efforts.

“Our members care about our community,” said Cribley. “We have longed for a place where we can come together to learn and share creative skills, homesteading skills, creative arts, culture and history. We also want a place where we can give support to others and feel comfortable asking for support when needed. The `homesteading spirit’ of working together.”

Original plans for the HEC involved one defined space, but the new area might be better suited for a smaller building with activities scattered about the land surrounding the center.

“When we originally conceived this we thought it would be a defined space,” said Cribley. “But looking at the property it might be an area where we have a learning center, gardens and certain things there, and then do other things along the trail.”

Now that ECAA has found a home for their center, raising funds for the center and getting local residents involved in the creation of the center are important next steps.

“We certainly need money to build the center, but more importantly we want people’s involvement,” said Cribley. “If there are people who are passionate about, say, youth programs, I want them to be part of this. I want anyone who enjoys a homesteading lifestyle, whether they’re veterans at it or new, to join us and give us input as to what they would like to see in the center.”

ECAA is also looking for sponsors for the homestead fair. For more information on the fair or the HEC visit www.elbertcountyagalliance.org.


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