If you are considering starting an agritourism enterprise on your farm, the best place to begin is with an honest and realistic assessment of your abilities, assets and goals. There is a lot to say on this topic and in the next few months we’ll dive more deeply into agritourism planning and how you can diversify your income by opening your farm to visitors. This post provides an overview of how to get started with agritourism planning. Don’t miss the free bonus download at the end of the post, it includes lots of creative ideas to get your wheels spinning!

Make A List

Create a list of all the types of agritourism activities you think you may want to offer on your farm, access my idea sheet to get started! Take your time and do some soul searching. Why do you want to offer agritourism activities on your farm? Consider your personality and the types of activities you enjoy. Do you like meeting and working with new people? What do you envision when you think about opening your farm to visitors?  It’s OK to be honest – after all it’s your farm and your business. There are so many different agritourism activities you could try. The more excited you are about something the better it will be. You don’t have to have a pumpkin patch or a corn maze just because they seem like instant winners or worked well for your neighbors. What type of visitors do you enjoy on your farm? Maybe not groups of school children, but what about families or older couples?

Ask For Input

Run your ideas by friends, family and potential customers. Post a poll on your farm’s Facebook page, website, or mailing list. It’s easy to assume we know what people would be interested in, but we never truly know until we ask them!

Visit Other Farms!

I know you don’t have a lot of extra time on your hands, but if you can spare an afternoon or day, participate in another farm’s agritourism activity. Experience it from a visitor’s perspective; what did you like about the activity and what would you do differently? If you can’t spare the time because it’s your busy season, try to recall vacations or visits to other farms you took. Maybe you went pumpkin picking with your family last Fall, what were your favorite parts of the experience?

Create a Plan (But Start Small)

Once you have a list of agritourism activities you might like to try offering and some input from potential customers, pick one activity and make a plan. Pick a date to host your event, then write down all the things you need to do to host it successfully, assigning dates to each task. If I were hosting a tomato tasting, some sample to do’s include:

  1. Clean barn
  2. Rent tables, tablecloths, cafe lights, extension cords
  3. Design event poster and send to local newspapers and online events calendars, post on social media accounts
  4. Find 5 volunteers for slicing tomatoes and leading tomato garden tours
  5. Buy compostable plates, toothpicks, and napkins
  6. Design and print tomato variety labels and tasting note cards
  7. Day of Event: Chop and Label Tomato Varieties, place on table and hand out tomato tasting notecards, Have fun!

We’ll dive more deeply into this, but sign up here to get your free Agritourism Idea Sheet and access to the Agrowtourism Free Resource Library!