Wednesday, May 23, 2018 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Find out why Agrotourism Is Right for Everyone

Are you a fan of agrotourism? If you’re like many travelers, you may not even know what that word means. However, you’ve probably engaged in agrotourism at one point or another. Ecotourism has been popular for years now, but agrotourism is just beginning to be recognized as a way to get back to nature and appreciate a world that we just don’t find in our increasingly urban and suburban lives.

Agrotourism is for everyone, and I would go so far as to say that everyone should participate in it. Even if you’re not really an outdoorsy person, you probably won’t have to look far to find an agrotourism experience that you enjoy. Agrotourism can take many shapes. Dude ranches are agrotourism attractions, as are U-pick farms, corn mazes, and farm stays. If you’ve ever stopped at a roadside fruit stand while on vacation, then you’re an agrotourist!

There are a lot of travel choices out there, from adventure tours to theme parks. What makes agrotourism so great? Read on to find out!
 
Top Reasons to Experience Agrotourism

Go Green

To some people, agrotourism is a way to go green. This type of vacation is good for the planet. You can feel good about your vacation when you’re doing an organic farm stay or buying fresh produce from a local farmer! Although not all agricultural attractions are especially earth-friendly, agrotourism attractions tend to revolve around sustainable farming practices. So if you’re looking for a way to love on the earth this year, planning a vacation around agrotourism may be one of your best options. Besides—if you’re running through a corn maze or milking a cow, you’ll be skipping energy-wasting vacation practices that often come with cruise ships, tours, and resorts.
 
Go Green
 
Engage

Travelers who seek to do good also enjoy agrotourism for community reasons. Agrotourism is good for local economy, since the money you spend at family farms and similar establishments stays in the area. This is especially important if you are visiting a low-income community. Rather than spending your cash on foreign projects, you can contribute to the livelihoods of the locals. Just as appealing is the fact that you often get a unique integration into local culture when you stay on a farm and make friends with locals.
 
Engage
 
Save Money

Perhaps you’re the one who needs to be money conscious. For many travelers, agrotourism is a way to save money and have a wonderful time. There are many ways to save on agrotourism vacations. For example, work-away programs are a great way to get free housing and food while away from home! All over the world, you can find farms that host travelers in exchange for free labor. You can learn new skills and get away from the daily grind at the same time!
 
Save Money
 
Learn

For other people, agrotourism is an educational experience. If you want to build a vacation full of fun and learning for your kids, take them to a farm! Children often find it exciting to see where their food comes from, and farm chores don’t seem like work when they are a novel experience. This is an excellent way to introduce your kids to eco-friendly practices as well as the care of animals and plants. A fun crash-course in responsibility is a great way to spend a family vacation.
 
Learn
 
Detox

Many urban dwellers use agrotourism as a way to unplug and detox. Getting reacquainted with grass and dirt is a great way to shake off the traffic and smog of the city for a while. Depending on where you go, you may not even have internet and cell access—the perfect excuse to ignore work emails and social media.
 
Detox
 
Enhance Your Vacation

Others prefer to use agrotourism as a fun addition to their more traditional vacation. Even if you don’t create your vacation around farm living, you can still add a little home-grown goodness to your trip. Make a stop at a roadside fruit stand, buy your sweetheart farm-fresh flowers, or make a stop at an orchard cider mill. You can do this virtually anywhere!

Love the farm-to-table movement? Bring that sensibility to your vacation. If you’re in Hawaii, head to the Dole plantation. If you’re doing a road trip, plan to take a break in a rural community and hunt down some farm-fresh eggs. In Europe? Visit a vineyard!
 
Enhance Your Vacation
 
Relax

Finally, agrotourism can simply be a way to have fun and relax. You might not think of your Napa Valley wine tasting tour as agrotourism, but that is precisely what it is. You don’t have to get any dirt under your fingernails, but you do get to breathe the fresh air, see the beautiful outdoors, and experience local produce. Agrotourism doesn’t have to look gritty—in fact, it can be very sophisticated and luxurious.
 
Relax
 
Ideas for Incorporating Agrotourism into Your Next Vacation

If you’re interested in trying agrotourism but you don’t know where to start, you’re in luck. Here’s a quick list of popular agrotourism experiences from around the world.

  • North America: Stay at a dude ranch to learn how real cowboys live.
  • South America: Visit a coffee farm and pick up a few bags of local coffee beans.
  • Africa: Safari through farms to learn how locals grow food.
  • Asia: Relax on a tea plantation.
  • Europe: Refresh your soul at a historic vineyard.
  • Pacific Islands: Discover small family farms.

Agrotourism means different things to different people, which is why it’s for everyone. What does agrotourism mean to you? Does it mean bonding time with family? An escape from your commute? A chance to breathe fresh mountain air? A great fruit-stand photo for Instagram? No matter what agrotourism means to you, make a conscious effort to include it in your vacation plans this year. You’ll be sure to have a fun time, whether you’re a pro at growing food or a total city slicker. Try something new! You never know—this could be the best vacation of your life.

What agrotourism attraction would you like to try? Let us know in the comments!
 

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