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The Rise of Agritourism Options in the United States

What originated in Italy has now grown popular in the United States. Agritourism, or agrotourism, is a one-on-one experience with the environment that lets people connect like never before. For example, farms, ranches, and more across America offer unique stays, complete with lodging and nature-based activities.  Basically, agritourism provides a down-to-earth opportunity that offers experiences like:

  • Helping out on the farm
  • Activities like fishing and harvesting
  • Exploring and observing the environment
  • Understanding who, what and which locations grow and produce food
  • Optimizing increases in grain production and addressing demand

These are only a few things agritourism might offer. Your experience will also depend on location and geography. Hence, a stay in an upstate New York ranch will be different from lodging in an Alaskan community.  Whether your travel plans call for an immersive experience on a farm or for nature activities, there are some things to keep in mind beforehand.

Agritourism Chickens

What to Know about Agritourism Beforehand

Eco-tourism is the umbrella term that involves traveling to places where conserving the environment is key. This has been around for a while, and all over the globe. Agritourism falls under this category. And, since both have environmental pros and potential cons, it’s important to understand both before traveling.

Pros:

  • Provides education and awareness
  • Stimulates economies and income for local communities or indigenous groups
  • Helps develop conservation efforts and connections with nature

Cons:

  • Can cause overdevelopment and push indigenous peoples or locals out
  • Can disturb wildlife

Because of the potential downsides, it’s best to have a respectful relationship with agritourism. For example, it’s important to understand and respect the boundaries and needs of the farm, ranch, land or community.

No matter the location though, experiences like these tend to be fun and fulfilling. You can learn and get active while enjoying some time off. Agritourism can also provide opportunities for those who may not have natural resources around them, like those who live in cities.

With benefits like these, disconnecting from it all is now easy.

Small Farmers Cow

Agritourism Sites Across North America

Agritourism options are abundant across the country. From coast to coast and inland, plenty of ranches and inns offer a wide variety of amenities and activities. Here’s a sampling:

Pennsylvania Farm Vacation Association (Various locations)

At one of these farm locations, you can experience the traditional lifestyle of the Amish people. You can also opt for other family-friendly options, as they offer different packages and accommodations.

Olde Fogie Farm (Lancaster County, Pennsylvania)

You can perform the traditional chores that come with farm life at this ranch, which is also located in Pennsylvania. Feeding animals, collecting eggs and milking cows or goats are all part of the stay. There’s still plenty of time for relaxation, too.

Blackberry Farm (Walland, Tennessee)

The activities are plentiful at Blackberry Farm. With things like picking and harvesting food, gardening demonstrations, tasting hours and cooking classes, you’ll gain useful skills. This farm even offers horseback riding and archery!

Vermont Farm Association (Various locations)

Here in Vermont, you’ll get a range of sights and experiences. First, you can participate in farm activities like milking and feeding animals. Next, you can fly fish, go berry picking or take a hike. And you can finish off the day with a campfire.

Hidden Villa (Lost Altos Hills, California)

This tech-free getaway makes for a perfect disconnected experience. They offer an educating and interactive farm stay in addition to their camps and after-school programs.

Morrill Farm (Summer, Maine)

This bed-and-breakfast has plenty of animals and sights. From dogs to horses and cows and pigs, the farm is fit to bursting with animal personalities.

With different seasons come different activities, too. In summer and fall, you’ll see some beautiful foliage. There’s also apple picking and cider. In winter, you can take part in some snow sports like snowmobiling or cross-country skiing.

Taos Goji (El Prado, New Mexico)

This organic farm offers some activities and educational opportunities that are unique to the location. Along with harvesting, you can learn the process of adobe brick building. Then, you can learn how to care for livestock and even bees!

Leaping Lamb Farm (Alsea, Oregon)

Retreat from city stress at this farm. After harvesting fruits and vegetables when they’re in season, you’ll be able to take home some jars of jams and ciders.

Taking in the scenery at the farm

Planning Your Environmentally Friendly Stay

These farms are just a few examples of the many places to stay across the United States. Each one offers unique accommodations and specialties. But, they all offer an environmentally friendly vacation.

Choosing to stay at one of these welcoming places is a sustainable and eco-conscious decision that can impact communities and economies for the better. Also, they provide education and awareness of food production, habitats, natural resources, and wildlife preservation.

Finally, picking which one is right for you depends on your interests. Do you want an immersive farm experience? Or are you leaning towards something more class-based? It’s up to you! You decide and then let nature run its course.


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Emily Folk
About the author

Emily writes on topics of sustainability and conservation. You can read more of her work on her blog, ConservationFolks.com, or follow her on Twitter (@EmilySFolk).

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