Community Mapping: Our individual communities already enjoy many food and dance spaces: farmers markets, roadside stands, community kitchens, restaurants, seed swaps, festivals, and dance halls. The East Kentucky Food & Dance Trail offers a promotional network that broadens the economic stability of these venues by advancing engagement, celebrating localities, and encouraging visitors.

Supporting Gatherings: We believe the most successful gatherings are organized by local community members including dances, festivals, pop-up dinners, and educational networks that further traditions. The East Kentucky Food & Dance Trail offers support to such opportunities through our media relations so that food and dance localities can best showcase their events.

Documenting the Story: The region’s abundance of agriculture and arts is a story that has been traditionally shared by cross-generational participation. The East Kentucky Food & Dance Trail lifts and preserves these narratives by offering multimedia documentary methods, oral history, and archival and web-based platforms.


The East Kentucky Food & Dance Trail believes that our region’s cultural traditions speak to an ethos that preserves both an honorable past and an exciting future. We summarize these values in the following:

Locally grown food offers a sustainable health and wealth to the region.

Community dances create a dynamic commons equalized across class, race, gender, and age.

Educating through traditions encourages respectful cross-generational relationships, while also increasing the region’s future livability.

Thriving creative economies provide a necessary base for successful small businesses and viable communities.


The idea for the East Kentucky Food & Dance Trail evolved from conversations between Hindman Settlement School and the Appalachian Food Summit of how to showcase dynamic traditions of food and dance in the region.

The first Appalachian Food Summit was held in Knott County at Hindman Settlement School in 2014. This gathering connected farmers, cooks, activists, writers, scholars, and other food enthusiasts throughout Appalachia and became a wide regional network with the mission of: “honoring our past, celebrating our present, supporting a sustainable food future.”

Hosting the Appalachian Food Summit was a catalyst for organizing events centered around the culture of food here in Hindman. The Settlement School hosted the first annual Dumplin’s and Dancin’ event in December 2015, which is an event that features workshops and meals celebrating the diverse history and present of Appalachian food and dance.

With historic and present agricultural and folk arts programming, Hindman Settlement School sees both food and dance as interconnected aspects of culture that gather people together in community.


Contact The Team

  • East Kentucky Food & Dance Trail
  • Sam Gleaves, Traditional Arts Director
    Hindman Settlement School