; Growing local agritourism networks: curriculum development and long-term results | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Growing local agritourism networks: curriculum development and long-term results

Penny Leff


Many California small-scale farmers and ranchers consider agritourism for enterprise diversification to spread risk, add value to their existing enterprises and educate visitors about agriculture. However, agritourism enterprises involve new financial, price, legal and social risks that must be understood and managed, and require new skills and new collaborations. With funding from the Western Center for Risk Management Education, the UC Small Farm Program offered three-session agritourism planning classes for producers each winter for three years in a total of eight different California regions. These classes use presentations, individual and small-group exercises, field trips and homework assignments to lead participants through assessing the potential of their own farms or ranches, creating business, marketing and risk management plans, and beginning to implement those plans.

Class participants are encouraged to develop networks through small group discussions and introduction to local supportive professionals and experienced agritourism operators.
Class participants completed evaluations and a “six-month action plan”, and were contacted three months after the final class session to discuss progress on the action plans. These evaluations and reports helped the project manager make changes in curriculum for the following year’s classes. The project manager is now contacting the participants from the 2011-12 and the 2012-13 classes to learn long-term results of the project.

This presentation will discuss local planning team and supportive network development, successful engagement strategies, curriculum changes based on evaluations, long-term results measuring the effectiveness of 2011-2013 classes and short-term results and action plans from 2013-2014 classes.