Posts Tagged: agritourism
Sunset Magazine ran an article this month encouraging readers to consider a farm stay for their next vacation. Beside a tranquil and scenic break from the office, farm visits help small-scale farmers sustain their operations, the article said.
“Farmers are recognizing that people are willing to pay for this experience,” said Penny Leff, agritourism coordinator for the University of California small farm program, whose researchers have seen a boost in the number of farms catering to visitors in recent years.
The small farm program maintains an online list of farms at http://calagtour.org that offer a wide range of agritourism opportunities to the public, from farm stays to U-pick operations, petting zoos, corn mazes, hay rides and farm stores.
The Sunset article details what it calls the "Top 8 Agritourism Experiences," including cattle herding, chicken butchery, wine making and goat cheese making.
Opening a ranch for hiking and birdwatching is another form of agritourism.
The online and printed Ag Trail map will locate many of the county's 1,700 dairies, farms, ranches, wineries, farmers markets, historical and cultural points of interest and UC Riverside agricultural research facilities.
"The idea is to promote agriculture, to promote the purchase of our products," said Tom Freeman, spokesman for the county Economic Development Agency. "We would target international visitors, domestic guests and our own residents."
Officials are aiming to complete the map by February 2013.
Before the new law took effect, the water board asked landowners for estimates, said Allan Fulton, a University of California Cooperative Extension advisor who serves Colusa, Glenn and Shasta counties. Fulton is an irrigation and water resources expert.
"There is a statewide effort at trying to more precisely understand and quantify how water is being used," he said.
UC Cooperative Extension will host a workshop March 31 to discuss the new requirement.
"I've had enough questions that I thought we ought to organize something," said Larry Forero, a UCCE director and advisor in Trinity County who specializes in livestock and natural resources.
Agritourism generates income, promotes farms
Tim Hearden, Capital Press
Agritourism, or activities and products offered on working farms to generate extra income from visitors, is a growing movement in California.
A recent UC survey determined that about 2.4 million visitors came to California farms in 2008 to enjoy some facet of agritourism, which could include lodges and cabins, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, "U-pick" operations and special events such as weddings and conferences.
"I think it really does help" farms, said UC agritourism coordinator Penny Leff. "It helps their name recognition if they're selling at the farmers' market or local stores. It helps in general for people to understand what farming's about, that food comes from farms."
ANR news from UC campuses:
UC Davis launches agricultural sustainability degree
Eve Hightower, UC Davis news service
The UC Davis this fall will launch an undergraduate major focused on agricultural sustainability. The bachelor of science degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems uniquely integrates several subjects to provide students with a thorough understanding of the many issues facing modern farming and food systems, including production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste management.
The public has an opportunity to get the latest information on the care and maintenance of home lawns and landscapes at the 2011 Turfgrass and Landscape Research Field Day, presented by the University of California, Riverside. The field day will take place from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Sept. 15, at the university’s Turfgrass Research Facility, 1060 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Riverside, Calif.
New York Times reporter William Neuman attended the UC small farm program's final "Growing Agritourism" workshop in Salinas last month and connected with a number of California farmers who were featured in a story published yesterday. The article noted that the "university extension service" brought the farmers, agricultural and tourism professionals, local officials and community leaders together to talk about improving agritourism opportunities in the Central Coast region.
The workshop was one of five held this year by the UC small farm program and UC Cooperative Extension. Funding to support the workshops came from Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.
The California agritourism enterprises featured in the story were:
- Dairy farmers Jim and Christine Maguire, who operate two bed-and-breakfast units at their farm. "Money from the paying guests is now enough to pay for the animals’ feed, one of the farm’s biggest expenditures," the story says.
- Christine Cole, who charges for tours of Full House Farm in Sebastopol, Calif., where she and her husband keep horses, raise vegetables and chickens and maintain three farm stay units.
- Vince Gizdich who runs Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville, where visitors enjoy “Pik-Yor-Self” berries and apples.
- Bonnie Swank, of Hollister, Calif., who runs a corn maze and haunted house each fall on land that grows vegetables the rest of the year.
- Templeton farmer Kim A. Rogers and her husband, who pulled out their orchard to become full-time innkeepers. "Farming was exhausting work and the bed-and-breakfast was providing an increasing portion of their income," according to the Times.
The story mentioned a number of online resources for the public to find agritourism experiences including Farm Stay U.S., which maintains a listing of farm stays around the country, and World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, which acts as an online clearinghouse for people who want to trade labor for lodging on a farm, with stays ranging from days to months. But it didn't include the UC small farm program's own agritourism directory, CalAgTour.org, which steers visitors to the wide variety of agritourism destinations in California.
Gizdich Ranch operates a U-pick operation.