The spring for which Mill Spring is named is approximately 1600 ft SW of the Ag Center and was named after the Mills family, the same family who founded Mills River in Henderson County.
The 40,000 square foot Mill Spring School, built in 1924, served children of all grades in Polk County until 1998. After sitting vacant until 2010, the building is now serving the community in a new way—the Mill Spring Agricultural Center. This new community center includes a local food farm store, agricultural food hub, small business center, auditorium for technical and cultural events, meeting space, art studios, and demonstration and exhibition gardens, greenhouse, and orchard.
The Center was brought to life by the care and concern of over a thousand community volunteers and through donations from their homes and hearts. AmeriCorps Project Conserve members served yearly, logging a combined 17,000 hours in the first 5 years of the Ag Center. Their dedication and community service helped the Center transform into its new purpose.
A highlight of the Center is the gardens. Over 450 varieties are grown in the Rose Exhibition Garden. The vegetable gardens provide exhibition and demonstration of local crops and heirloom varieties of vegetables. The Fruit Orchard exhibits trees as well as raspberry, blueberry and blackberry gardens. The Medicinal, Culinary and Dye garden teaches about various plants that can be used for dying, culinary and herbal uses.
The Mill Spring Ag Center is owned and operated by the Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District and is not tax funded. This building will always be here for its citizens.
The Blue Ridge Heritage Trail is a program of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.