Farming Experience,  Food Tourism,  Sustainable Activity

What is Agritourism

Have you ever toured the countryside? Made a holiday of sampling home-made food items, purchased local handicraft as souvenirs or spent a day plucking delicious looking fruits and vegetables from the plant? Agritourism is exactly this!

As consumers, it is important to maintain a healthy relationship with our food, and to gain knowledge about the source and history of it.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, Agritourism is ‘The symbiotic relationship between tourism and agriculture.’ In a simple context, agritourism  also known as agrotourism, is a form of tourism which activities are focused directly with agriculture, and  utilises the unique offerings of rural and agriculture rich communities.

Agritourism is a form of tourism which can be employed in almost every corner of the globe. The requirements of the world to have some form of agriculture, animal keeping, and the resources which it provides: food, medicinal plants, milk, wool, meat, etc are necessary to keeping the world fed. As such, rural areas abound, bringing with them a unique opportunity for tourism.

Some examples of agritourism are:

  • Visiting farms to pick and purchase produce
  • Learning about environmentally-friendly or historical means of agriculture
  • Helping to bring tourism efforts into rural communities
  • Participating in planting or harvesting activities in rural, agriculture based communities
  • Visiting rural areas for tasting and purchasing locally made juices or wines

Why is agritourism important?

Agritourism is important for many reasons. It helps to generate additional income for producers, it generates an atmosphere where people can learn about agriculture and foster a deeper connection to the source of their food and it creates the possibility for the visitor to discover a better source of food purchasing which benefits the community at a more local level and not just multinational corporations. Also, a day spent in the countryside under a clear blue sky with fresh air and exercise is usually considered a good day!

Agritourism and ecotourism come together on several points. These points being: contributing to small communities through the travellers tourism choices and purchasing decisions, having the opportunity to learn about the history of – and environmental activities of the place which is being visited, utilising the sources of a local guide and rural conservation efforts are applied.

How can we find agritourism options?

Agritourism options, both local or in a far flung destination, can be found by doing a simple online search. As many small farms do not employ a team of marketers, agritourism options are not likely to be found via the more mainstream ways of destination marketing. Doing a quick online search will give results, especially if it is an unfamiliar destination about which you are searching. There are a few online listing sites for agritourism activities – including expedia and book agri websites.

If you are looking for a more local option, word of mouth is usually one of the best ways to find a good agritourism option, as people will always include a personal recommendation or word of caution when discussing the place and their experience with it. A recommendation from a friend, family member or friendly local usually carries more value than an online recommendation from a stranger. 

Look out the window! When taking a long drive, be it for working or any other reason, look out the window. Make a note for remembering to yourself when you notice a sign on the road advertising local farms or the ability to pick your own fruits at the named place. Keep the phone number or farm name and when you are looking for agritourism options, call and ask information from them first. 

Enjoy some time in the countryside, you’ll be happy you did!

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