- Author: Ben Faber
Agritourism Intensive 2021; Virtual class starts soon in SLO County
University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP) and UC Cooperative Extension have partnered with SLO Farm Bureau, FARMstead ED, SLO Farm Trail, Visit SLO CAL, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, SLO County Small Business Development Center, experienced local agritourism operators and other local partners to offer a six-session agritourism planning course for farmers and ranchers in SLO County and the central coast region. Farmers and ranchers who are considering, starting or expanding agritourism or nature tourism enterprises on their farms or ranches are invited to register for this low-cost participatory course.
Agritourism is a commercial enterprise at a working farm or ranch conducted for the enjoyment and education of visitors, and that generates supplemental income for the owner or operator. Agritourism can include farm stands or shops, U-pick, farm stays, tours, on-farm classes, workshops, tasting rooms, fairs, festivals, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, Christmas tree farms, winery weddings, orchard dinners, youth camps, barn dances, hunting or fishing, guest ranches, and more.
“Agricultural operations in the Central Coast region can offer visitors a diversity of natural beauty and unique experiences with local farmers and ranchers. It can be difficult for small-scale farmers and ranchers to make a living when dealing with production challenges, uncertainty and lack of economies of scale. Our workshops will give agricultural producers contacts and tools to understand regulatory requirements and to develop and market their agritourism enterprises, adding to their income and helping spread the risk of tough production years,” said Penny Leff, UC SAREP Agritourism Coordinator.
Participants will evaluate their own farms or ranches for agritourism potential and consider the costs and potential benefits of various activities. Each will receive the UC ANR published handbook, “Agritourism and Nature Tourism in California,” which will be used as the text for the class. Attendees will hear from experienced agritourism operators and experts in business planning, risk management, regulatory compliance and marketing. Class instructors will provide individual guidance and help participants form a supportive network as they plan their own agritourism or nature tourism businesses.
Registration is now open.
Important: The SLO region Agritourism Intensive classes is open only to farmers, ranchers and others involved in or planning agritourism in San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties.
Format: 6 participatory 2-hour Zoom meetings, every Tuesday from January 12, 2021 through February 16, 2021, 9 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. each day (with a possible in-person field day Jan. 26). Shared zoom participation will be available at the SLO Farm Bureau office for those with poor internet access.
Workshop fee: $40 (for 6 class sessions, including class text mailed to each participant)
Information & scholarship options: Penny Leff, email@example.com, 530-902-9763 (cell)