- Author: Hannah Bird
University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP), UC Cooperative Extension and the UC Hopland REC have partnered with Mendocino County Farm Bureau, Visit Mendocino County, , experienced local agritourism operators and other local partners to offer a five-session agritourism planning course for farmers and ranchers and others involved in agritourism in Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma Counties. 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 North 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 Mendocino region Agritourism Intensive class is open only to farmers, ranchers and others involved in or planning agritourism in Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma Counties.
Format: 4 participatory 2-hour Zoom meetings, every Wednesday morning from March 3, 2021 through March 24, 2021, and one in-person field day on the site of a Mendocino County agritourism operation (location TBD) on March 31.
Workshop fee: $40 (for all class sessions, class manual mailed to each participant, lunch on March 31)
Information & scholarship options: Penny Leff, firstname.lastname@example.org, 530-902-9763 (cell)
This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2018-70027-28587.