Monday, July 21, 2014


-- Quote of the Day -- 

"Animals give me more pleasure through the viewfinder of a camera than they ever did in the crosshairs of a gun sight. And after I've finished "shooting," my unharmed victims are still around for others to enjoy. I have developed a deep respect for animals. I consider them fellow living creatures with certain rights that should not be violated any more than those of humans." 

~ Jimmy Stewart

-- What is Agro-Tourism? -- 

* Note: In the article below I'm going to refer to "farmers" as anything from grain and seed suppliers, to gardeners and meat producers. 

There are several different ways of looking at Agro-Tourism.  Basically it involves communities making information and tours and markets available to the general public. Manufactures from wine to cheese, jam to pickles might offer seasonal tours as well. Parks and wildlife centers might get involved. Businesses might offer special sales, specialized theme products, or contests. Sporting events might be scheduled around special local happenings too. Restaurants might offer specialized menus based on the theme of the event.

To look more deeply however we need to see who is going to be interested in this type of tourism.

Amature, aspiring or professional chefs might want to learn more about local suppliers and taste varieties of fruits, vegetables and other produce they've not used or heard of in the past. They take the experience and perhaps a few recipes home with them to try out on their patrons and create a ripple in the pond effect. For instance, a farmer who specializes in rare and endangered vegetables introduces a professional chef to a variety that they start serving in the restaurant and their patrons become very interested in this unique food, talk about it and perhaps become intrigued enough to include it in their own gardens or to ask for it when shopping. The farmer benefits from increased sales, other farmers decide to start growing that variety and before you know it - that variety is no longer endangered from extinction.

Families may want to go on specific tours for education and entertainment purposes to learn how things are grown, how animals are treated, to view the foods produced, to learn about farming, and to taste interesting foods. Locals may want to visit farmers to learn more about what is produced locally and to be able to better decide who they want to purchase from. Gardeners might be looking for interesting plants to include in their patch. Farmers might be looking for ways of running their business or hobby more efficiently.

Some communities arrange for special festivals where local producers offer unique tours, information and tasting booths, where there might also be live music and parades and contests happening for a specific time frame. Perhaps during peak tourism in the area or during peak production of a particular crop. A community could, theoretically, have several of these festivals for different crops.

A more simple form would be effectively managed markets where live music and vendors supplying foods and drink and art made locally are available. These are seen as experience events and provide a lot of entertainment and new experiences, sometimes they might even include speakers and other entertainers from the area. 

The benefits go beyond supporting local producers, artists and entertainers, and saving endangered or rare foods from extinction. They also include opportunities for people close to your community to have stay-cation events to attend, encouraging them to spend their time and money locally. Agro-tourism also encourages increased tourists and people coming back year after year. People might hang out for the day (or longer) and visit the local businesses, gas station, grocery stores, restaurants and cafes. Cross promotion at any and all of these venues mentioned in this article is vital to keeping people informed and interested in doing more, attending more happenings, spending more and enjoying their stay in your area more.

Check out what is happening in your area (whether at home, visiting elsewhere or on vacation), invite people you know to attend events with you, and be sure to send your suggestions or comments to those involved with creating and maintaining events in your area.

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