We have all just recently gone through the life experience of going to the grocery store to shop for items to purchase, but find they are unavailable on our store shelves. This may have caused you to have given more thought to our food supply than maybe ever before. We are understanding more about the term “supply chain” and where our goods come from. Many of us have considered planting our own gardens now to become more self sufficient. And if that seems too daunting and intimidating, or until you get good at it, another alternative is to consider our local producers.
When Kentuckiana opens up again and we are free to travel to local attractions, maybe you will have a new appreciation for our local producers and what you can learn from them by visiting their location for events, tours, and purchasing local products.
What is Agritourism?
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture shares the definition of agritourism and the impact in Kentucky on their Kentucky Farms are Fun website. Agritourism is defined as "The act of visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural, or agribusiness operations for the purpose of enjoyment, education or active involvement in the activities of the farm or operation."
Why is agritourism important to local tourism?Agritourism offers an opportunity to build relationships between the agricultural community and the local tourism industry by incorporating tour groups, educating school children and hosting civic events. This increases rural economic development dollars in areas with agritourism venues. The ultimate goal of an agritourism venue is to increase net farm income by filling customer needs for education and recreation on the farm.
Why is agritourism important to all Kentucky citizens?Today most Kentuckians have no direct connection to farm life, even in rural areas. Agritourism gives people an opportunity to better understand the skill and hard work that go into producing the food and fiber we all enjoy. It's also a chance for great food and clean country fun at destinations that are close to home.
Baby Steps Back Out in the World of Local Tourism
The first thing that comes to mind to check out are local farmers markets. This link is a great way to search for what is available in your area and you can refine your search by category of products that interest you. Not only are they a good source of locally grown produce, you will find meat and poultry producers as well as custom craftspeople. And when you have the opportunity to speak to these vendors in a convenient location, they will gladly tell you if they welcome people to their site for a closer look.
Check with your local farmers market, as many of them have lists available for you to pre-order and have safe pick up procedures in place while we are coming out of this COVID-19 time of shelter-in-place. You can learn more about markets that are operating successfully with CDC guidelines in place here.
If after you have taken that baby step and you are feeling more comfortable to venture out, we have plenty of beauty and agricultural resources to take in.
Maybe you will be up for a local orchard visit like to Gallrein Farms. They offer many seasonal products, activities, and events for the whole family. And I would love to go to their annual Sweet Corn Festival. There are some great farms and orchards where you can pick your own and you can find them here. And another way to introduce agriculture to your children is through interaction with animals. Reach out to Farmer Steve's Children's Barnyard for more information.
And don’t forget that when we can dine in restaurants again, we have many farm to table restaurants that deserve our patronage. Such as Freight House in Paducah, Local Feed in Georgetown, Barn8 in Goshen, as well as others listed here to support local farmers.
Kentuckiana is the new Paris, France