Kentucky Promise Zone City Moving Forward on Local Foods, Local Places Initiative

[Photo: Local experts and community members tour Middlesboro, Kentucky.]
Local experts and community members tour Middlesboro, Kentucky.

Middlesboro, Kentucky is a beautiful, plush city set in a backdrop of a mountainous view in Kentucky's Appalachian region. The city's hope is to attract many visitors to its quaint town of approximately 10,000 people.

The town has so much to offer, yet it deals with its unique economic development challenges as much of the Kentucky Promise Zone ( and Appalachia does as well. Consequently, Discover Downtown Middlesboro, Inc. a non-profit founded in 2006 applied for the 2016 National Local Foods, Local Places competition to help receive funding and technical assistance to boost economic opportunities for local farmers and businesses, to improve access to healthy local food, and to promote childhood wellness.

With over 300 applicants to choose from, there were 27 communities chosen and Middlesboro was the only Local Foods, Local Places ( community designated in Kentucky and it is located in the only Kentucky Promise Zone, which is in Southeastern Kentucky. In March, Discover Downtown Middlesboro, Inc. gathered a group of federal partners, state partners, and local community members to work on its planning process to fulfill its application request to create pallet gardens, low-cost mobile food carts, and business strategies for restaurants; a co-op grocery store; and other local food enterprises to employ low-income residents.

This 2-day workshop included a tour of the city by the team of experts and the development of an action plan to identify resources, missing pieces, and how to bridge those gaps to meet all of the city's goals.

"I feel really great about the community involvement and progress in working with the team of experts," said HUD Kentucky Field Office Director Christopher Taylor. "They are ready to do more and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity that they have been given. I will be coming back soon for a visit to see the actual progress they are making and to offer our support."

For more information about Discover Downtown Middlesboro, Inc.(, contact Isaac Kremer, Executive Director, at (606) 248-6155.


Content Archived: February 21, 2018