Agritourism and Farm Visits
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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.
On This Page
|Guides & Toolkits||State/National Programs|
- 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.”
- 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!
- Agritourism Spotlights: In 2021 we added several new publications spotlighting agritourism operations around the state. From the mountains to the coast and locations in between, find out first-hand how farmers are providing exceptional hospitality to guests seeking safe and fun outdoor experiences. Check out this example from Person County and contact your local Extension Office to learn more about these publications!
- 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”.
- Is an Agritourism Venture Right For Your Farm? by Stephen Komar, Brian Schilling, Jenny Carleo, Susan Colucci, Samantha Rosier Rich, & Stacy Tomas; NCSU & Rutgers CES.
- Regulations that may Affect your Agritourism Enterprise; 2009 Guide from NC Extension Publications.
- Marketing 101 for Your Agritourism Business: This downloadable PDF, developed in partnership by NCCE and Rutgers University New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, explains the “four Ps” of agritourism marketing for farmers.
- Getting Started with Agritourism Guide Cornell Cooperative Extension. The entire Agritourism page from Cornell University Tioga County Extension is also a great resource!
- Rutgers University & SARE Agritourism Training Powerpoint Modules:
- Direct Farm Marketing and Tourism Handbook University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Service.
- Is Agritourism Right for You? by Bill Walker- NJDA.
- So You Want to Start an Agritourism Farm? by Martha Glass; NCDA.
- Alternative Enterprises and Agritourism – Farming for Profit and Sustainability 2,300 page reference guide available for free download from the USDA NRCS designed to support vendors considering agritourism.
- Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities: This USDA-supported guide, available for free download or in $3 print version, “is written for anyone seeking help from federal programs to foster innovative enterprises in agriculture and forestry in the United States. Specifically, the guide addresses program resources in community development; sustainable land management; and value-added and diversified agriculture and forestry.”
- 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.
- Agritourism: What is it and is it for my farm?: This 2013 NC Extension video uses humor to explain agritourism.
- NC’s Women in Agritourism: This short film from NC State Extension Tourism highlights NC women running agritourism operations.
North Carolina & NC Extension-Specific Publications
- North Carolina Women’s Success in Agritourism: Turning Challenges into Opportunities (2016) This technical report highlights the unique challenges and opportunities facing women in agritourism, including societal trends and possibilities for the future.
- Social Relationships between Wineries and Local Communities. (2016) This technical report summarizes a study analyzing NC Piedmont residents’ social relationships with wineries and wine trails in their areas.
- How Beneficial is Agritourism? (2014) This report analyzes NC farmers’ and residents’ perceptions of the benefits of agritourism, and highlights a number of perceived socio-cultural, environmental, and economic benefits of agritourism for farmers and communities.
- Agritourism, Farm Visits, Agro-Tourism — Oh My! (2012) This technical report explores the different terms and language associated with agritourism and concludes that farmers, residents, and extension faculty have different term preferences.
- Using Social Media to Market Agritourism. (2012) This factsheet highlights opportunities for using social media platforms to increase engagement.
- Agritourism in North Carolina: Comparison of 2005 and 2012 Survey Results. (2012) This publication compares the demographics of agritourism across the state in 2005 and 2012.
- Agritourism in North Carolina: Summary of Pilot Study Results. (2012) This publication details the demographics, interests, and behavior of residents attending agritourism farms and events.
- Agritourism Opportunities for Farm Diversification. (2010) This fact sheet provides a useful overview of types of agritourism, benefits of agritourism, and how farmers can use agritourism to enhance their business.
- Considering an Agritourism Enterprise? (2009) This publication is a how-to guide for starting the process of running an agritourism operation.
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.”
- Agritourism and Societal Well-being Lab: Agritourism Research Lab at NC State University; led by Dr. Carla Barbieri.
- Agritourism Office, NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Markets Division —- Annie Baggett, Agritourism Marketing Specialist. (919) 707-3120
- North Carolina Agritourism Networking Association (ANA) – “The ANA will serve as a statewide proactive advocate for agritourism farmers and as a liaison between and among state-level organizations, field organizations, nonprofits and rural landowners to support and facilitate agritourism.”
- Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project Farm Tour takes place in Western North Carolina in September each year.
- Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Farm Tours are available annually in the Piedmont, Triad and Eastern Triangle regions of North Carolina.
- High Country Farm Tour. Caldwell, Watauga, and Ashe counties.
- N.C. Cooperative Extension offices in some NC counties facilitate farm tours in their areas. Check with your local Cooperative Extension office for farm tour opportunities. Contact your local county office to find out more.