Agritourism or agrotourism, as it is defined most broadly, involves any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch. Agritourism has different definitions in different parts of the world and sometimes refers specifically to farm stays. Elsewhere, agritourism includes a wide variety of activities, including buying produce direct from a farm stand, navigating a corn maze, slopping hogs, picking fruit, feeding animals, or staying at a bed and breakfast (B&B) on a farm.

Agritourism is a form of niche tourism that is considered a growth industry in many parts of the world, including Australia, Canada, the United States, and the Philippines. Other terms associated with agritourism are “agritainment”, “value-added products”, “farm direct marketing” and “sustainable agriculture”.

With growing awareness of veganism, more and more people wish to know more about the source and process of food production. This brings wider opportunities for Agrarian Communities of diversifying and thereby adding an additional source of income.

People have become more interested in how their food is produced. They want to meet farmers and processors and talk with them about what goes into food production. For many people who visit farms, especially children, the visit marks the first time they see the source of their food, be it a dairy cow, an ear of corn growing in a field, or an apple they can pick right off a tree.

Farmers and ranchers use this interest to develop traffic at their farm or ranch, and interest in the quality of their products, as well as awareness of their products.

Agritourism is widespread in the United States. Agritourists can choose from a wide range of activities that include picking fruits and vegetables, riding horses, tasting honey, learning about wine and cheese making, or shopping in farm gift shops and farm stands for local and regional produce or hand-crafted gifts.

Herb Farm

The small landholders are the most precious part of a state are the famous words of Thomas Jefferson, which is more relevant now since they have emerged from the role of providing food to the nation to being employers for a wide range of manpower, and taxpayers.

“Agricultural tourism or agritourism is one alternative for providing and improving the incomes and potential economic viability of small farms and rural communities. Agritourism enterprises can a diversified to provide local employment and avenues for incumbent employees, by way of holding fairs/ exhibitions and festivals. Other possibilities still offer the potential for development.  UC has developed a concise database that provides visitors and potential entrepreneurs with information about agritourism locations throughout the state.

The planning and marketing of a rural community like Grand County require weighing the pros and cons of tourism. According to a publication, local citizen participation is helpful and should be included in starting any kind of a tourism program. Citizen participation in planning tourism can contribute to building a successful program that enhances the community.

Steven Smith