Posts Tagged: agritourism
Californians and California tourists love to get out of town to enjoy rural beauty and experience a taste of rural life. This often includes visiting California's many farms and ranches that offer farm tours, farm stays, workshops, festivals, dinners, fruit picking and even barn dances. As interest and demand for agricultural tourism grows, so does interest among California farmers and ranchers in creating enjoyable and educational experiences to meet this demand and create a new income stream. However, entering the hospitality business involves overcoming many challenges.
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) has taken the lead in California for many years in helping farmers and ranchers learn and connect as they grow their agritourism enterprises, through programs and resources coordinated by the UC Small Farm Program, and currently by the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program and the UC ANR Agriculture and Nature Tourism work group.
The site includes articles, work-sheets, checklists, guides, webinars, presentations, contacts and other materials created by UC ANR advisors and staff; presentations and handouts shared by agritourism stakeholders and educators at UC ANR agritourism workshops; and links to useful agritourism resources created by other universities and organizations. Materials on the site are organized by activity, by region, and by audience.
In addition to resources helpful for farmers and ranchers developing their own agritourism businesses, the website shares materials useful for agricultural educators, researchers, county and municipal staff and the tourism community in supporting agritourism development and regional agritourism promotion. One of the plans of the website creators is to include a clearinghouse of county planning documents and ordinances relating to agritourism, to make research a little bit easier for county planners and communities faced with updating regulations. Other sections of the website will be expanded over time as needs and interest dictate.
Poke around and see what you think. California Agritourism is still a work in progress. We'll be adding more pictures, resources and links on an ongoing basis. If you have suggestions or materials to share or links you would like to see included on the site, or if you see things that need fixing, please email Penny at email@example.com.
Sacramento River Delta Grown Agritourism Association map brochure invites, “Drive along winding rivers and sloughs in the heart of the California Delta; Visit quaint historic towns, shop at rustic farm stands or pick your own fresh fruit and vegetables; Taste Delta wines, picnic by the river, and enjoy the peaceful pace among generational family farms.”
Capay Valley Farm Trail Map lists more than 40 farms in the Cache Creek watershed, and explains, “Capay Valley is a remarkable stretch of fertile land and rolling hills, home to a host of small and mid-size farms, natural wonders, and outstanding events…”
The North Yuba Grown Farm Trail Map brochure encourages visitors to “Enjoy the Flavors of North Yuba … Some olive trees in the area are more than 100 years old, and are still producing excellent olive oils. The vines cultivated for wine are forced to dig deep for water and nutrients, resulting in smaller yields but expressing intense flavors.”
As Californians' interest in local food and farming increases, farmers in many parts of the state are finding ways to invite their urban and suburban neighbors out to the farms to taste, tour, play and learn. Three groups of growers, Capay Valley Grown in Yolo County, North Yuba Grown in Yuba and Butte, and Sacramento River Delta Grown in Sacramento County, have just published new farm trail maps that promote agritourism in their unique farming regions. The maps are part of a UC Small Farm Program project, funded by a CDFA Specialty Crop Block grant, called, “Building a Farm Trail: Developing effective agritourism associations to enhance rural tourism and promote specialty crops.”
The Sacramento River Delta group put on their Wine and Produce Passport Weekend in early August to debut their maps. North Yuba Grown is sponsoring the North Yuba Harvest Festival, to be held on September 27 and 28, and Capay Valley Grown is planning an Open Farm Day on October 5 this year. The groups of growers will have a chance to share their experiences with each other at a regional workshop in November, and with other California agritourism operators at a statewide agritourism summit to be held in April 2015.
The California Statewide Agritourism Summit, organized by the UC Small Farm Program as part of the same project, will bring together agritourism associations and others involved in California agritourism from throughout the state to learn from each other. The summit will include planning sessions for the continuation of statewide farm trail and agritourism association networking and skill-sharing. For more information, please click here or contact UC Small Farm Program Agritourism Coordinator Penny Leff, (530) 752-7779.