Friday, October 30, 2009

This week's news roundup

Journalist and yoga teacher Ann Marie Swan wrote a lovely article for the Salida Citizen (an intriguing volunteer-run community news site) about Colorado wine and agritourism, accompanied by nice photos of grape stomping and such.

Also, here's a short piece about Missouri wineries and agritourism.

And here's an article about culinary and agri-tourism in Tennessee, from Jacque Hillman of the Jackson Sun.

Oregon Live mentioned Leaping Lamb farm stay again, along with other Oregon agritourism farms, in an article by Larry Bingham that focuses on problems with agritourism regulation. Counties interpret loose agritourism laws differently: "The law says agri-tainment farm activities must be connected to the things grown or raised on the farm, and most friction comes down to the question of whether it has more to do with farming or entertainment."

Here's the article excerpt about Oregon farm stays:
One activity recently rubbing up against zoning codes is farm lodging.

A few Oregon farms are part of an international WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) program, in which a visitor works in exchange for room and board. A few others operate like bed-and-breakfasts. Visitors can wake with the chickens and feed them if they want -- or not.

"People feel good about knowing a farmer and connecting with those agrarian roots on a personal level," says Garry Stephenson, Oregon State University professor and director of the Extension Service small-farm program. "The thing driving it is a fascination about farming."

Scottie and Greg Jones moved from Arizona to Alsea six years ago with the hope that a psychologist and former zoo food-and-entertainment manager could make a living raising sheep. They soon realized they couldn't, Scottie says.

To pay the bills, they built a two-bedroom cabin and opened a farm stay. County zoning leaders gave Leaping Lamb a conditional use permit after contacting neighbors. In three years, the business has grown by word of mouth and is so busy now the couple hired a maid to clean the cabin.

The family farm

"The family farm is generations away from most people, so I'm providing the family farm you might have gone to on Thanksgiving or at Christmas to see your grandparents," Scottie says.

In a world where children think apples magically appear at the grocery, the benefit of such ventures may be to bridge worlds.

"I have enabled them to experience something and they have enabled me to make a connection," Scottie says. "It's like making a friend. We have a bond."
 The article doesn't say why farm lodging is "rubbing up" against zoning codes, though!  I'm very curious what kinds of issues they have had.

A final quote to leave you with, from Australian vineyard owner David McMaugh:
“From my travels overseas in France, Italy and Switzerland I see how integrating agriculture and tourism can build a stronger regional identity.”

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