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Monday, September 12, 2022

“Evolution of the Heartland” agritourism event gives a taste of Iowa small towns

The Manning Hausbarn-Heritage Park hosted the first “Evolution of the Heartland” experience on August 31st. The agritourism event showcased the industry’s evolution and advancements in rural Iowa. Paige Hepp is one of the event organizers and she says having fewer registrations than expected may have worked in their favor. 

“I think it actually ended up being a lot better than we could ever have hoped for because we had smaller tour groups and so we got to have more intimate time I would say with these folks and they could ask the one-on-one questions,” said Hepp. 

Tour options included a Swine Immersion, Niche Farm, and Main Street ‘Shop ‘Til You Drop’ in Manning and Audubon with many local partners involved. Each group also toured the Manning Hausbarn-Heritage Park. Hepp says 91 people from three states participated in the experience and it was fun to give them a taste of small towns like Manning and Audubon. 

“To have folks want to come back whether it’s to shop or if it’s to play or go explore or maybe they will even move here and live here and spend their dollars here and start businesses here. That is the ultimate goal,” said Hepp. 

Hepp says they also want to provide a template for agritourism events like this one in other communities around Iowa and the Midwest. 

“We would have them find the community members that are really influential in their area and then they would hook us up with the farms or small businesses,” said Hepp. 

Hepp says Evolution of the Heartland will return in 2023 and you can follow their planning progress on Facebook and Instagram.

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