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NC State Extension

Agritourism and Farm Visits

Agritourism is a form of consumer engagement where farms “offer a variety of recreational, educational, and tourism activities to make their finances more resilient” (NC State Extension Tourism). Examples of agritourism: U-Pick berry farms, housing/camping offerings on farms (including farm stays), volunteer opportunities on farms, farm tours, classes and workshops, and seasonal events (hayrides, holiday farm tours). Learn more about Agritourism by checking out the NC State Extension Tourism Department and exploring the resources below. 

Center for Environmental Farming Systems Fall Festival 2006, Sept. 16, 2006....The CEFS opened its grounds to the public during the Fall Festival, providing farm tours and demonstrations, exhibits, live music and a local farmers' market. ..Becky Kirkland photos..

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Extension Programs Videos
Curriculum Extension Publications
Guides & Toolkits State/National Programs

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  • NC Cooperative Tourism Extension: “The mission of Tourism Extension is to improve the quality of tourism provision across rural NC by helping individuals and communities develop prosperous and enduring tourism enterprises that will boost economic and community development efforts. As Tourism Extension specialists we seek to provide programs, resources and assistance to Cooperative Extension agents and other professionals working in rural counties across North Carolina. Our research − conducted at international, national, and regional scales − fosters positive tourism development that conserves natural resources, promotes socio-cultural integrity, and stimulates endogenous economic development. Our programs are built on this research and with these programs we hope to answer the needs of North Carolina’s rural communities at all levels of tourism development.”
  • Fork to Farmer:Fork to Farmer program leverages the high visibility of celebrated chefs to enhance the viability of small farms through new direct to consumer income from product sales and farm visit sales. Fork to Farmer partners with celebrated chefs willing to contribute as catalysts for a marketing campaign promoting farm experiences and products offered by small farmers. We collaborate with tourism, local foods, and Extension partners to create short films celebrating partnerships between celebrated chefs and the small farmers that supply them. We also build marketing coalitions that allow small farmers to sell farm experiences and products to the public and offer training programs that enable the recruitment and accompaniment of participating small farmers.”
  • People-First Provisions (a collaborative Vacation-Supported-Agriculture program of People-First Tourism & Fork to Farmer): “More and more people enjoy local foods in their lives, but when they go on vacation they struggle to conveniently find fresh produce from local farmers. Through our partnership with Extension and other agriculture and local foods organizations in destination communities, we developed relationships with groups of local farmers and with vacation home rental agencies to make it very convenient for you to order fresh produce from the destination communities you visit. Through our Provisions web marketplace, you can easily pre-order locally-sourced bags of produce well in advance of your summer vacation.”

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  • Agritourism Curriculum: In an effort to address the increased interest in agritourism expressed by farmers in the state, Extension’s Local Food Program Team, through its Economic Impacts Work Group, has developed an agritourism training based in the recent work of many North Carolina Tourism and Extension specialists. While the short-term goal of the training is for trainees to complete the training with at least the framework for an agritourism business plan, the long-term goal is for trainees to launch their agritourism enterprises. Includes additional resources for Extension professionals interested in delivering this training. Contact your local Extension Office to learn more about this resource!
  • Extension Training for Agritourism Development: This SARE-funded online training from Rutgers University Extension includes modules, videos, and resources “deliver educational programming to agricultural educators and service providers working with farmers interested in agritourism development”.

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  • Fork to Farmer Video Series: The Fork to Farmer project creates films that tells the stories of farmers, “unsung heroes who stand behind the star chef to help create the farm-to-table experience.” In this video from the series, a farmer in Cleveland County explains how he uses agritourism to teach kids about agriculture.

Thumbnail of video - hyperlinks to video

Thumbnail of video - hyperlinks to video

Thumbnail of video - hyperlinks to video

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North Carolina & NC Extension-Specific Publications:

Publications from Across the US:

  • Assessing the sustainability of agritourism in the US. (2013) This study explores how agritourism differs from other farm entrepreneurial ventures in its potential for long term sustainability. 
  • Farmers’ perspective: perceived benefits of agritourism. (2012) This study analyzes 16 Missouri farmers to understand how they perceive the benefits of agritourism on their farm. “Results showed that agritourism mostly serves to capture new farm customers, educate the public about agriculture and enhance the quality of life for the farm family, which represents both, economic and non-economic benefits.”

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Farm-Tour-Focused Resources