Today, the economic existence of many family farms is threatened by the modern global industrialized agricultural industry. To offset the loss of traditional farm income, many farms are taking advantage of their unique nostalgic, rural, local, family, and outdoor appeal by developing destination attractions, known as agritourism, as additional and often their sole sources of new income. Options include u-pick, petting zoos, hayrides, children's discovery farms, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, wedding and special event venues, seasonal and fall festivals, farm markets, long table dinners, haunted attractions, school field trips, farm restaurants, cideries, milk and cheese creameries, and recreational activities, such as hunting, fishing, or horseback riding.
Offering experiential farm offerings in addition to the sale of products positions farms at the 4th level of economic value with its higher profit margin.
With increasing consumer interest in locally and sustainably sourced foods and health, farm markets have increased appeal. Often, there is an opportunity to expand a farm market's destination appeal beyond just the sale of crops and food products by offering educational tours, enrichment and special events, classes, tours, and other activities. Also, offering tours such as the process of producing cheese positions a farm as a transformative destination experience.
The White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group has 29 years of experience working with all types of agritourism businesses. We have worked with over 60 farms throughout North America since 1994 to develop and design successful agritourism businesses or grow existing ones.
We enjoy our agritourism feasibility, design, and consulting work. We learn a lot from the farmers we work with that can be applied to our other projects (talk about being resourceful with the dollar, just work with a farmer). Most of all, we enjoy seeing them succeed with a new business venture that moves them into the experience economy while still retaining their farming roots and helping them preserve their multi-generational family farms. As we often explain to them, they're still farmers; it's just that they're now farming people.