The Louisiana Agritourism Connection June 2013

Dora Ann Hatch  |  6/5/2013 1:09:52 AM

What is Agritourism?

Agritourism, a business venture on a working farm, ranch or agricultural enterprise, is growing in popularity throughout the United States. Agritourism blends entertainment, education and tourism together to provide a fun, exciting and memorable get-away for school trips and family outings. This website provides educational resources to assist new and existing entrepreneurs in developing, expanding and improving their agritourism ventures.

In This Edition

Topics covered in this edition include: Garden Fest in Baton Rouge, Outdoor Business Workshop for Landowners in Zwolle, free advertising idea, Farm-to-Fork Agritourism in California, day camp ideas and things to do in summer to prepare for fall.

Garden Fest June 15 at Burden in Baton Rouge

It’s what could be termed as an “agritourism event” at the Burden Center on June 15. Food, music and hayride tours will be featured at the annual Garden Fest at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens in Baton Rouge.

From 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m., visitors will have an opportunity to take a hayride to the Botanic Gardens research area to taste tomatoes, watermelons, peppers and fruit crops and learn about the latest research conducted by the LSU AgCenter, according to Burden resident director Jeff Kuehny.

Food companies in the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator also will offer samples of their new foods and beverages beginning at 7:30. To learn more click here.

If you live nearby, travel to the Burden Center and take notes. This could be a great agritourism opportunity for a landowner.

Outdoor Business Workshop for Landowners in Zwolle, July 23

workshop brochure

This one-day workshop will provide landowners with information on supplemental income opportunities using natural resources on their land. Topics will include cost-share assistance programs; fee-based hunting and fishing; nature trails; wildlife and birding; liability and legal considerations; and testimonials from landowners who are engaged in outdoor recreation. Participants can include landowners and people who would like to develop an outdoor business using their property.

The workshop location is Wildwood Resort, 129 Wildwood Road, Zwolle, La.

Registration is $25 per person or $30 per couple. Make checks payable to “LSU AgCenter.” Please mail your check and registration with your name, address, phone number and email address by July 19 to Dora Ann Hatch, LSU AgCenter, Hill Farm Research Station, 11959 Hwy. 9, Homer, LA 71040. For a form click here.

Registration opens at 8 a.m., and the program concludes at 4 p.m.

FREE Advertising with MarketMaker

Yes, that’s right! MarketMaker provides FREE advertising, thanks to Louisiana sponsors. More than 600,000 business profiles in 20 states are now using MarketMaker. It takes only minutes to set up your own account. Click here to learn how. Not only does MarketMaker help the consumer find the best selection of fruits, vegetables and eateries, it also provides the consumer with agritourism destinations.

Producers who use MarketMaker can click on the buy-sell forum and locate places to where they can either buy or sell.

Farm-to-Fork Agritourism in California

Feather Down Farms in Oroville, Calif., is selling the agritourism experience by allowing their guests to gather eggs and milk the cows. Overnight lodging is offered on a nearby farm. Click here to see a slide show of their operation.

Feather Down, based in the Netherlands, has 26 farm-stay programs in the United States. According to a recent article in the Sacramento Bee, the company partners with only “select farms” and equips them to rent housing for guest lodging.

This partnership allows for family farms to work together to create a complete experience for tourists.

Day Camp Ideas

Agritourism operators should consider “day camps” during summer. These camps should combine learning and doing. Target age groups should be 7-12 years old. If you live on a family farm, allow your day camp participants to participate in farm life. Yes, they really want to dig potatoes, pick tomatoes, pick berries, pick squash, etc. Show them how you plant, care for and harvest these vegetables. Talk about the nutritional value of eating vegetables and allow them to participate in the cooking process. Let them sample their food products and send home produce with them to show their parents what they have learned.

In the state of New York, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture offers a Farm Camp. Their camp brochure provides a time schedule and a list of ideas for those who want to host a camp or day camp as I have suggested.

To-Do List for Fall

Before our next newsletter comes out in September, you should have already sown your pumpkin seeds. County Agent Kenny Sharpe suggests that if you are growing pumpkins to sell, plant them by July 20. Home gardeners should plant from July 20 to the first week in August to have Halloween pumpkins. For more information click here.

If you host school groups for field trips, summer is a great time to visit with school officials. Stop by, introduce yourself and leave literature; you might also want to ask if you can contact some teachers over the summer. Consider volunteering to host a workshop for teachers during the summer so you can provide hands-on education and promote your field trips.

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The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture