Join us at the Farm!
for the 2019 Ouachita Homestead Conference
June 8th, 2019
The Arkansas Homesteading Conference is making its first venture into western Arkansas this summer when it brings the 2019 Ouachita Homesteading Conference to the Holly Springs Homestead just outside Mena on June 8.
Holly Springs Homestead is a working farm/agri-tourism destination located about five miles outside Mena at 217 Polk Road 184. It is owned and operated by Luke and Deedee Alston, the 2017 Arkansas Farm Family of the Year.
The Arkansas Homesteading Conference is in its fifth year of providing educational sessions and demonstrations on developing a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle. The conferences provides information on gardening techniques, small farm livestock, food preservation, herbs, alternative energy and more.
Britt Talent, who organizes the conferences with his wife, Karen, said the Ouachita Homesteading Conference will be unique in that it will be the first one held at a working homestead.
“A lot of the people who attend our conferences share the same dreams that the Alstons have – get away from corporate America and live out their lives close to family doing the things they love,” Talent said. “The setting at Holly Springs Homestead will bring a unique perspective to the conference.”
The Holly Springs Homestead is a fifth generation farm that now includes a commercial poultry operation, cattle and hog production, berry farm, vegetable garden and farm stand. The Alstons have also developed their farm into an agritourism destination with a corn maze, pumpkin patch, farm tours and other family-oriented activities.
“We are excited about hosting this event at our farm this year in June and look forward to all the speakers, demonstrations and attendees that will visit Holly Springs Homestead for what we hope is a wonderful time for all!,” said Luke Alston
Deedee Alston said many of the sessions reminds her of some of things she learned from her childhood.
“All the topics at this event takes me back to a wonderful childhood where I was fortunate to learn from grandparents who lived a very happy and healthy homestead life,” she said. “It was addictive and I hope those who attend will either be able to reconnect with times past or take home some new skills to help them live more simply and sustainably.”
While the sessions for the Ouachita Homesteading Conference are still a work in progress, Talent said there will be a heavy emphasis on demonstrations and seeing homesteading ideas being put into practice.
“The Holly Springs Homestead gives us an opportunity to see a lot of these ideas being put into practice,” he said. “From their berry and vegetable production and cattle business to their agritourism venture, the Alstons pretty much cover the gambit.”
The first Arkansas Homesteading Conference was held in the spring of 2014 at the Pioneer Village in the Talents’ hometown of Rison, a town of about 1,300 people in south-central Arkansas. Since then, the conference has expanded in scope and location, with the conference having now having hosted events at Rison, Mountain View, Harrison and North Little Rock.
March 1st – Season Opener!
Spring Celebration – March 2nd 8am-2pm
Join us Saturday, March 2nd from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. as we celebrate spring! We will have extended hours on the 2nd and the kitchen will be serving up lots of treats!
There will be:
Free tastings of coffee, specialty drinks and foodie items
Market Sneak Peaks
New Garden Products
Come and go as you please for a fellowship with our community of people who love local food!
The 2019 Homestead Camp Dates Announced!
Mark your calendars for two sessions of Homestead Camp!
June 10th week and June 17th week, we will be hosting campers from ages 6-13 for a hands on learning experience at Holly Springs Homestead! Camp registration and schedules will be posted in the coming weeks!
(2017 Farm Tour)
3rd Annual Farm Tour
2018: Dates & times to be determined
We will host our 3nd Annual Farm Tour on TBD! You do not want to miss the great afternoon we have planned for you! We have a great list of vendors, musicians and education expos coming! Expect to see:
- Vendors & Exhibitors to be determined
3rd Annual Chicken Cookoff
In conjunction with the Annual Farm Tour, the Polk County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee will be hosting the Second Annual Chicken Cookoff in recognition of Arkansas Poultry Promotion Month.
Want to show off your skills behind the grill? To enter, submit an entry fee of $20 and complete the entry form no later than Monday, June 12, 2017. We have a PRINTABLE ENTRY FORM (click here). We also have an online form if you would like to complete your entry online, simply click here.
Please return your printed entry form and entry fee to:
Holly Springs Homestead
c/o Chicken Cookoff
217 Polk Road 184
Mena, AR 71953
You may also submit your entry form to: firstname.lastname@example.org.