Sara Day Evans

Founding Director
Accelerating Appalachia

Sara Day Evans, founding director of Accelerating Appalachia and co-founder of Prosperity Collective, is an award-winning, innovative sustainability program developer, social entrepreneur and “living bridge” who, for over 20 years, has delivered outstanding results through strong leadership, creativity and collaboration. After serving for 17 years in leadership with the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection and the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Evans founded Accelerating Appalachia based on her observations that we could do better at bringing together our economic and ecologic systems, make a profit and restore the health of people and the planet. Accelerating Appalachia is filling an unmet need to support growth-stage “basic needs businesses” in food, clothing, shelter and health. As she lovingly calls them, “Nature-Based Businesses” work closely with the unparalleled biodiversity of Appalachia and are based across the southeast, with Appalachia at the heart. Evans received degrees in geology and hydrogeology from the University of Kentucky and was the first undergraduate to have her enrollment petition accepted to study water law at the University of Missouri School of Law. She’s also an accomplished musician, writer and poet and is the niece of Wendell Berry, who has deeply influenced her personal and professional life.



Professionals from around the world and across every industry attended last year’s conference and returned home inspired, re-energized and ready to change the world. Here’s what they had to say: 

“Thank you for organizing a great and thought-provoking conference. The standard for next year is set very high!” @balrathboyne

“Thanks Alltech for a great REBELation meeting this week! Speakers shared inspirational thoughts on innovation and purpose in food and agriculture!” @AgProudRyan

“Great event. Thanks to Alltech for its continued support for young agricultural journalists.” @BenPikeComms

“On behalf of the Dahmes and Genarex teams, please accept our sincere thanks for the invitation to Alltech’s 2015 conference. We found the event to be informative, well-organized, and very entertaining. We believe that it is very healthy for an organization to have its leaders attend events of this nature. The networking opportunities are invaluable. ” Dan DeGeest, General Manager, Dahmes Stainless, Inc., USA

“It’s easy to see why Alltech is succeeding and will feed the world someday. I used to think I knew the definition of networking, motivation, passion for work and passion for life. Now when I think of networking, I think of Alltech! When I think about motivation, it equals Alltech! When I think about passion for work, it’s Alltech! Passion for life and all life has to offer, I think of Dr. Pearse Lyons and Alltech!” Jeff Clines, Stand Energy Corporation, USA

“Alltech's 2015 conference in Kentucky was amazing and a real eye-opener. We loved it.” Rebecca Jamieson, Murdoch Southern Farms Limited, Invercargill, New Zealand

“Alltech's conference, and more importantly the attendees, empowered us to cement in stone our vision. Being two small islands down in the South Pacific does not mean we don't punch well above our weight and the inspirational environment of Kentucky confirmed this.” Ben Smith, Circular Solutions, Northland, New Zealand

"If we didn't push the boundaries as an industry, we would be producing about half as much food as we do today." Ron Arnason, Verus Animal Health Alliance, Canada

“My experience at Alltech's conference was very interesting. It is a very innovative event.” Zacharakis Kostas, VET FARM CARE, Thessaloniki ,Greece 

"I've had the opportunity to attend five times and can say it is a very interesting experience. Every time I’ve attended there is a chance to network, gain knowledge and share experiences on countless subjects with scientists of today and the future. It is worth attending and I would not miss it for the world.” Simon Rodriguez, Nutritionist, Agrosantana, Venezuela

"Alltech's conference provides a great opportunity to meet many people who visit from all over the world, with knowledge on the same nutritional subjects, to share ideas and experiences. Once we return to work, we are renewed with a fresh global vision about the business, open to new ideas and opportunities." Enrique Soto, President, Agrosantana, Venezuela

"Alltech's annual event is a compilation of the best ideas for agribusiness and the world. It is an eye-opening networking experience. We do not want to miss the next!" Paola Cruz, General Manager, Nutrieco, Columbia

"The event is very high-level in all aspects—educational, motivating, and, above all, inspiring."

Indira Cedeño, Administrative Manager, Ecuador