Agritourism means travel organized around farming, small-scale food production or animal husbandry. Visiting a working farm or ranch for the purpose of enjoyment and education are key parts of this often rural experience. Farmer’s markets, wine tourism, cider houses and corn mazes all constitute examples of agritourism. Travelers who participate in this type of vacation frequently desire to see how food is grown and prepared or to learn how animals are raised.
Agritourism the idea of bringing urban residents to rural areas for leisure travel and spending.
In an increasingly mechanized world, many people have lost touch with how their food is produced, or the region where it originated. Agritourism offers tourists a chance to reconnect with the land, providing a “hands on experience” with local foods. Agritourism activities include picking fruits, tasting wine, tending bees, milking cows and other educational pursuits.
Agritourism immerses visitors in the heritage of a particular culture. Take the time to stop by a working farm or ranch, you will most likely discover people with an intimate knowledge of the history and traditions of their region. A traveler to Agros in Cyprus who helps the villagers gather roses in May, will learn something about the area’s history producing rose water. Horseback riding on a dude ranch in Montana offers a glimpse into the lives of cowboys from the “Old West” of the U.S.. A visit to a food museum such as the Musee de la Boulangerie Rurale in Luberon can teach about the history of rural breadmaking in the Provence region of France.
For the most iconic agritourism areas, safeguarding the integrity of their products is nothing less than a source of national pride. In the European Union, Protected Designation of Origins (PDOs) look after the integrity of a wide variety of foods, such as Champagne wine in France, Asiago cheese in Italy and Melton Mowbray meat pies in England. All these regions are eponymous with the foods they produce, while a tourism industry has sprung up around that particular food’s production.
Like ecotourism, agritourism focuses on travel that is low-impact and empowering to local communities, both socially and economically. Recognizing the need to diversify their farm products and supplement their agricultural incomes, many farmers consider agritourism as a viable option for the long-term sustainability of their farms. Agritourism can prop up an agricultural economy when local producers can no longer compete economically. The tourism takes place in a farm setting and is secondary to the primary agricultural operation.
This can be as sophisticated as a bed and breakfast stay at a winery or as rustic as camping. One common variation is a farm stay, where guests help feed the animals and harvest the crops.
A resort patterned after a ranch in the Western U.S., featuring camping, cattle rangling, horseback riding, and other outdoor activities. See also Old West.
Dude Rancher’s Association — Created in 1926, the DRA is the governing body of the U.S. West’s dude ranch industry.
Farm and Ranch Museum — Located in Gering, Nebraska, in a series of big red barns, the museum looks at ranching practices of the Great Plains.
In Europe, it’s referred to as “schlaf im Stroh” in German, “aventure sur la paille” in French, or “sleeping in the hay” in English. Spend the night on a farm and help out with domestic chores and demonstrations of native crafts. This could be an overnight stay in a rustic hayloft in Switzerland, a remote cabin or outbuilding in Austria, or even a full-blown apartment and rooms for daily or weekly rent on a farm in France. Here are a few resources:
FarmStayPlanet — A directory of farmstay vacation providers worldwide, though with the vast majority in Europe. Some vineyards and ranch stays too.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) — A chance for a farmstay combined with social activism and ecological practices.
The Bed & Breakfast and Farmstay Association — Serves New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, Australia.
Help Exchange — Organization that connects holiday backpackers to farms, ranches and stables in exchange for labor. Travellers agree to a few hours of work for lodging. It is a sometimes rural version of a hospitality exchange.
Hungarian Farmhouses — “Village Tourism” is popular and very well developed in Hungary, and can be a remarkable experience. Start your research with 1Hungary, National Federation of Rural and Agrotourism and Centre of Rural Tourism.
Kibbutz Program Center — Nonprofit work studies program for young adults between 18 and 30 to work on a kibbutz farm in Israel.
Nekazalturismoa Association — Rural guesthouse and farmhouse accommodation in Euskadi, Basque Country, Spain. Edificio Kursaal, Avda. Zurriola 1, 20002 Donostia-San Sebastian, Tel: +34 902 130 031. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area — One of 37 federally designated heritage areas in the U.S. and an affiliate of the National Park Service. Celebrates the history of America’s agricultural revolution.
Funen Village — Open air museum near Odense, Denmark, presenting 19th century agricultural life in the Danish province of Funen.
Muckross House Traditional Farms — Visit three working farms in Ireland, demonstrating rural life during the 1930s and 1940s.
National Museum of Agriculture Kačina — A branch of a popular Czech Republic collection in Prague, the Museum of the Czech Countryside features crop and animal production, rural crafts, country life and farm machinery.
Not every farm visit is work related or educational. A common variation is an “entertainment farm.” These rural amusement parks offer barrel rides, haunted houses, inflatable bounce and jumps, crop art, displays of old farm equipment and other forms of recreation.
Winery stays are popular on every continent save Antarctica. Given the romance, history and cachet of wine, many view vineyard retreats as a “high end” agritourism experience.
Rheingauer Weinmuseum Brömserburg — Inside Brömserburg castle in Rudesheim, museum tells the history of wine production in the Rhine River Valley in Germany. Includes the world’s oldest wine-related collection, as well as a sizable collection of wine presses dating back to the 17th century.
Weddings & honeymoons
Many farmers and ranchers are supplementing their income by offering wedding and event venues. Rehearsal dinners, barbeques and other activities can combine with the wedding ceremony. If there is an inn or bed and breakfast on the premises, newlywed couples can make a rural experience a part of their honeymoon travel.
A ride in a wagon, flat bed trailer or truck piled high with loose straw or bales of hay. A traditional autumn, harvest time activity in North America.
Includes rodeos, horse farms and trail riding, the latter often directed by professional guides or outfitters.
Hungarian Equestrian Tourism Association — Countryside tourism in Hungary, as viewed from the back of a horse.
British Horse Society — Charity in the United Kingdom with a large number of resources for equine tourism around the globe.
Takekoma Inari Shrine and Horsemanship Museum — in Iwanuma in the Miyagi Prefecture of Japan. One of Japan’s three major Inari shrines, featuring a monument inscribed with Matsuo Basho poems.
A labyrinth or hedgerow made out of a corn/maize field, or some other kind of tall growing grain. There are two main methods for creating a corn maze: growing it from the ground up using special seeding techniques plotted out from a GPS-linked grid map, or to cut the maze pattern through a regular field of corn.
Maize Maze Association of United Kingdom and Ireland
Tanbo rice murals
Inakadate, Aomori — A village in Japan famous for growing large murals out of various strains of heirloom and modern rice. The murals can be viewed from a tower behind town hall.
Milk and cheese
Visit a place where milk, cream and other dairy products are processed and sold.
Numbur Cheese Circuit — Visit this cheesemaking region in the High Himalayas of Nepal.
Chimay — In Belgium, near the French border. Since the 1850s, the Trappist monks in Chimay have produced beer and cheeses to support their order.
Ag Heritage & National Dairy Museum of New Zealand — Explore the development of the dairy industry in New Zealand.
Appenzeller Schaukaserei] — Audiovisual exhibits at this museum in Switzerland give information on the manufacture and aging of cheese.
Cuba Cheese Museum — Located in Cuba, New York, educates visitors on the history of cheesemaking in western New York state.
Plansarski muzej — Museum of Alpine Dairy Farming in Slovenia. 19th century cheese factory, as well as the interior of an alpine dairy hut.
Snow Brand Milk Products Historical Museum — Large museum located in Sapporo, Japan. On the premises of Snow Brand Milk Products factory, where the company first produced butter in 1925. After learning about dairy farming and milk products, visitors can sample ice cream and milk made at the factory.
They are “Schrebergartens” in Germany, “dachas” in Russia, or vegetable garden plots and simple country homes where city dwellers plunge their hands into the soil on the weekends. It’s possible to rent these allotment gardens in many countries as an alternative stay to a hotel or youth hostel. There is no central directory or database for finding allotment garden lodging; the information must be ferreted out of the various national and regional agritourism bureau websites.
Ruralis — A consortium of rural and agritourism boards in Istria, Croatia. The Roman Emperors used to reward their legionaries with “latifundia”, or little stone farm houses and garden plots. You can still stay in a handful along the Dalmatian Coast.
Heritage Gardens — Legacy or heritage gardens preserve the biodiversity of heirloom vegetables that may have fallen out of favor.
Medicinal Plants and Vegetable Gardens — List of herb garden and vegetable garden museums in Wallonia, Belgium from the Belgium Tourism Office.
Nationaal Asperge en Champignonmuseum — Housed in an old barn, exhibits focus on old and modern methods of cultivating asparagus and mushrooms in the Netherlands.
Celery Flats Interpretive Center — A museum in Portage, Michigan, deciated to celery culitvation.
Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Festival — In Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada, at the Windsor Waterfront and Exhibition Grounds, +1 902 798-9440 or +1 902 798-2728, Mid-October. This festival includes a number of pumpkin-related activities, but the highlight is the Pumpkin Regatta: contestants make boats out of giant pumpkins and paddle or motor them around Lake Pesaquid, often in silly costumes. Free.
Society for the Preservation of Old Mills — With the colorful acronym of SPOOM, this organization offers visitor information on historic watermills, stone windmills and grist mills throughout the U.S.
Native Seeds — In an effort to preserve agricultural genetic diversity, this nonprofit group seeks out rare heirloom seeds adapted to the arid climate of the Southwestern U.S. and Northwestern Mexico. The group needs volunteers to help out on their conservation farm near Patagonia, Arizona. Tasks include weeding, repairing equipment, planting and harvesting.
National Apple Museum — Pennsylvania museum in the U.S. exhibits the history and artifacts of the apple and fruit tree industry.
Trat — This Thai province is famous for its array of seasonal fruits such as durian, mangosteen, rambutan, Long Kong, santol and zalacca, which are available right from the orchard.
Sukhothai Cycling Route Through the Orchards — Also in Thailand. Enjoy cycling around and tasting a variety of fruits like pomelo, santol, sapodilla, coconut, star fruit, various kinds of bananas, as well as the tasty and fleshy plum mango (Bouae Macrophylla) with its chicken-egged size. Contact the Si Satchanalai District Agricultural Office, Tel. 0 5567 1036, or Village Headman, Mr. Saneh Mueangmun, Tel. 08 1395 7183.
Malang — In East Java, Indonesia. See tea, orange, apple, strawberry, vegetables in Lawang and Batu highlands
Kanchanaburi — In Thailand. Province features seedless raisin vineyards, as well as a mixed cultivation farm with organic vegetables and plants of various kinds of processed agricultural products such as corn milk, vegetable juice, dehydrated banana and jack-fruit.
Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center — Run by the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association, in Warrens. Looks at the 100 year history of cranberry bogs in the area, with artifacts used to harvest the berries, including dugout canoes and handrakes, a scoop-like tool.
Celebrated in places like New England and Eastern Canada. In Quebec, February marks the maple syrup festivities in the sugar shacks, as the maple trees awaken from the winter cold and prepare for the forthcoming springtime. These “Cabanes à Sucre” often feature restaurants serving maple syrup-inspired cuisine.
New England Maple Museum — Real evaporators simulate the syrup making process in Pittford, Vermont.
Maple Syrup Museum of Ontario — Learn about the history and process of maple syrup making in Ontario, Canada, through displays and videos. Artifacts include an old and a new evaporator, and candy molds.
Plattner Bienenhof — Located on a 600 year old peasant farm. Learn the history of apiculture in the South Tryrolean region of Austria.
As wine is usually regarded as the most sophisticated of alcoholic beverages, wine tourism or enotourism is highly developed in many regions around the world, and it can be as simple as hopping on a wine shuttle in Napa Valley or as complicated as renting a villa in the south of France for a month. Enotourism is a great way to learn about the people, culture, heritage, and customs of an area. Some of the famous wine producing regions of the world have been producing wine for centuries or even millennia, and the production and consumption of wine is deeply ingrained in the local culture. Also, these areas tend to be off the beaten tourist track (although not that far off) so enotourism can expose travelers to new and interesting areas. Getting out and visiting wine producers provides contact with local farmers and artisans who care deeply about the area. Wine growers are farmers, and their perspective on the local area, and life in general, tends to be different from other locals typically encountered while traveling.
Alpaca or llama
These pack animals from South America are now raised around the world. Many farms offer tours and sell clothing made from the animal’s lightweight, insulating wool.
Annual Michigan International Alpacafest — Held every year in Michigan.
American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum — In Amarillo, Texas. Showcasing the history of the American quarter horse.
National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame — Museum in the U.S. state of Kansas featuring all things related to poultry raising, exploring the industry’s history through antiques, memorabilia, pictures and lore.
Loei Turkey Farm (ฟาร์มไก่งวงเมืองเลย) — in Thailand at Ban Ko Rai Yai, Tambon Siao. It belongs to Mr. Sathit Phaksiphaeng, the Vice Governor of Loei, who encourages local farmers to raise turkeys for their supplementary income as well as, be a tourism promotion by using a slogan “Think of Turkeys, Think of Mueang Loei”. There are thousands of turkeys in the farm. Tourists can witness the beautiful spread of turkeys’ tail feathers everyday from 8.30 – 12AM Tel. 0 4281 3046.
Goats and sheep
Amgueddfa Wlân Cymru — National Wool Museum of Wales in the United Kingdom.
Fish farms and aquaculture
Lobster Safaris — Promoted by the West Sweden Tourist Board in Sweden.
Markets and festivals
An agricultural show is a public event exhibiting the equipment, animals, sports and recreation associated with agriculture and animal husbandry. The largest comprise a livestock show (a judged event or display in which breeding stock is exhibited), a trade fair, competitions, and entertainment. The work and practices of farmers, animal fanciers, cowboys and zoologists may be displayed. The terms agricultural show and livestock show are synonymous with the North American term county fair or state fair.
Agricultural shows are an important part of cultural life in small country towns, and popular event in larger towns and cities. Shows range from small events in small country towns usually lasting two days, through medium-sized events of three days, to large Royal Shows, which may run for up to two weeks and combine elements of an amusement park with those of an agricultural show. Although increasingly under pressure due to finances and insurance concerns, all main towns in the United Kingdom have a Show Society and in some areas, several towns and villages in the area all have an annual show. Larger shows often include live entertainment and fireworks in the main arena.
Domäne Mechtildshausen — Located next door to Andrews Air Force Base in Wiesbaden, Germany. Organic farmer’s market run by the state of Hesse in 19th century brick stables. Bakery, cheese shop, fruit and vegetable stand, butcher shop. They raise their own cattle, poultry and pigs.
National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association (FARMA) — A co-operative of farmers, producers selling on a local scale, and farmers markets in the United Kingdom. Info on farmers’ markets, farm shops, or pick your own farms in the U.K.
Pick it yourself farm
Many niche tourism programs are located in rural areas. From wine tours and eco-tourism, to agritourism and seasonal events, tourism can be a viable economic component in rural community development. According to the USDA, Cooperative State, Education and Extension Service, “Tourism is becoming increasingly important to the U.S. economy. A conservative estimate from the Federal Reserve Board in Kansas, based on 2000 data, shows that basic travel and tourism industries accounted for 3.6 percent of all U.S. employment. Even more telling, data from the Travel Industry Association of America indicate that 1 out of every 18 people in the U.S. has a job directly resulting from travel expenditures.”
In France , rural tourism is a practice in constant development that concerns about 30% of stays, but less than 20% of consumption. Rural tourism seems to have become of prime importance for short stays.
Anyone living in a rural area can offer one or more accommodation in the countryside that can be officially referenced by the prefecture under certain conditions; it will be able to use any unprotected name and its activity will then be part of the administrative classification furnished with tourism . Others will prefer unofficial brands managed by private associations, such as Gîtes de France , Clévacances , etc. The only professional farmers will be able to claim the name Welcome to the Farm or Home Farmer. All these brands, names and acronyms, whose obtaining depends on the follow-up of specifications, allow referencing by the initiative unions of the communes.
In parallel, people practice lodging or renting without wanting to display any acronym (official or not).
Many neo-rurals of urban origin (often retirees, returned to the native country or permanently attached to that of their holidays), even foreigners create their structure of accommodation in the countryside ( furnished tourism , bed and breakfast ) . The share of professional farmers in rural tourism has become a minority.
To meet the seemingly growing demand for active rural tourism, accommodation offers are often enriched by themed stays that offer guests the opportunity to discover nature (horseback riding, hiking, picking berries and looking for mushrooms), discovery of the terroir (cooking class, foie-gras tasting ), wine or artistic activity ( watercolor , writing workshop).
European states are encouraging their farmers to develop this hosting activity, in order to compensate for the decline in income from their traditional activity ( cultivation and breeding ). Thus the FNSEA , the main French agricultural union, predicts that in 2012 about 25% of farmers’ income will be directly linked to rural tourism.
Rural tourism is relatively recent in Spain in relation to the rest of Europe, where it already existed since the beginning of mass tourism. Areas such as the Alps or Provence were the driving forces of this new type of accommodation, which by offering a series of elements, such as contact with nature, material and human quality, gastronomy and local heritage, led to the revaluation of rural areas and its local and artisan products.
There are different modalities. Buildings where there are different rooms with common elements such as bathrooms, living room and kitchen. With some frequency it is usually shared with the owners, although they have a private area. In the case that the owners live, it is usually rented by rooms (hotel type, with food services) or complete ( full rental house ) for groups.
The INE maintains an annual survey of occupancy of rural tourism accommodation.
Rural tourism generates a set of human relations resulting from the visit of tourists to rural communities; taking advantage of and enjoying the environment, natural, cultural and socio-productive values. The incorporation of tourism activity in the rural sector has aroused great interest because it meets growing demand, occupies idle factors (labor and capital), and avoids the exodus from the countryside by incorporating women and young people as protagonists.
One of the characteristics common to tourism and agrarian developments in Latin America is that they do not usually receive subsidies or state support, constituting an economic activity that is self-financing.
Rural tourism is subdivided into:
Agrotourism : Whose purpose is to show and explain to the tourist the production process in the agricultural establishments. The agrotourism is a form of tourist offer that consists of lodging in rural houses, of village, etc., either renting the whole house with a series of services, well a room or space of the same one. The owners offer activities related to the agrarian and rural world: food with homegrown products, horse rental, risky sports, ecology school, car trips or artisan cooking courses.
Tourism of stays .
Experiential Tourism and Experiences .
Food routes : For example, Colombian Coffee Route.
Sports Tourism .
Community ecotourism : A form of sustainable tourism in which the local community participates actively in the management and development of ecotourism entrepreneurship .
Etnotourism : Look for that need of the tourists to rescue those ancestral cultures, within their own paradigm, to find and know those millenary keys that transport to the origins of the human being in this world; that is in the search of historical vestiges that manage to chain broken memories by the same man.
Rural tourism and aging : It seeks the participation of older adults in the generation and realization of tourism activities in rural areas characterized by the aging of the population.
One example in particular is southwestern Cambodia, which successfully runs community-based ecotourism to address such issues. First, this program targets villages of low GDP for ecotourism to help provide jobs and education for these communities. The local people in the villages determine the tourism activities available with an emphasis on showing their local culture. In fact, Reimer and Walter have found that in Cambodia, populations have limited their logging and other harmful practices because ecotourism has given a more successful industry and greater awareness to the intrinsic value of the environment. By placing ecotourism in the hands of the local, the least amount of harm is assessed. However, it may limit financial trajectory because of mismanagement or lack of attraction. These concerns with ecotourism can be mitigated through education and careful implementation.
Costa Rica is known for its biodiversity with having 5% of the world’s biodiversity on its 0.035% of earth’s surface. In 2007, the government announced that it would support four types of tourism, ecotourism, adventure tourism, beach tourism, and rural community based tourism. A specific part of Costa Rica that has benefited from community-based ecotourism is Tortuguero, a turtle-nesting area surrounded by a national park with an impoverished community. Nearly the entire population of Tortuguero is working in the tourism industry, as community-based ecotourism is breeding entrepreneurs. Economically, the largest issue of Tortuguero is to maintain the community-based aspect of the tourism as they continue to resist institutionalization from the outside. Environmentally, conservation has been seen as a priority in order to motivate the ecotourism industry. However, because Tortuguero is only accessible by boat, there has been an increase in noise and pollution. Additionally, beach paths had to be inputted to avoid disturbing nesting turtles. In terms of the sociocultural aspect, training and education of the local community has become a priority to ensure their ability to continue as a community-based endeavor. The community has learned to become more organized and work together to build conservation efforts to support their community. There are now nonprofit organizations in Costa Rica that will train local small businesses to successfully run community ecotourism enterprises.
According to the document of the Ministry of Tourism of Brazil , “Guidelines for the Development of Rural Tourism,” the concept of Rural Tourism is based on aspects that refer to tourism , territory, economic base, natural and cultural resources and society . Based on these aspects, and in the contributions of partners from all over the country, rural tourism is defined as: “the set of tourism activities developed in rural areas , committed to agricultural production , adding value to products and services, rescuing and promoting the cultural and natural heritage of the community “.
In Brazil, rural tourism is highly sought after in centennial farms of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro , as well as equestrian walks in the Pantanal Matogrossense and trails in historical farms of the interior of São Paulo .
Some Brazilian universities offer at graduation , the discipline rural tourism. As is the case of the undergraduate course in animal husbandry .
Source from Wikipedia