(From "Cash In On Agritourism," by Barbara Berst Adams, page 2 of 5)
Project 1: The One-day Workshop
Host a one-day, one-time workshop that reflects who you are as a farmer, and see how you feel about it. Jessica and Jeremy Little, owners of Sweet Grass Dairy in southern Georgia, started their agritourism venture by giving appointment-only guided tours, which boosted sales of their cheese and added another revenue stream.
Jeremy was living his dream–or, actually, one of his dreams; in addition to a dairy farmer, he also would’ve enjoyed being a chef.
“He is an amazing cook and really loves food,” says Jessica. So when a customer inquired about artisan cheese-making classes, Jeremy tried out a one-day class with a small group of a half a dozen or so and liked it so well, he continues to offer them based on customer requests.
He found yet another stream of agritourism income that also satisfies his appetite for preparing artisan foods. Maybe small-scale cheese-making classes wouldn’t authentically represent the personality of another dairy farm, but they’re perfect for the one operated by the Littles.
Perhaps you aren’t a great teacher but know others who are whizzes at coaching flower arranging, cooking, bird watching or composting. You can offer your farm as a location for a one-time event, either charging rent directly to the teacher or splitting profits on fees per head, making sure there’s a limit to the number of attendees. With this type of partnership, the teacher can be responsible for soliciting students and collecting fees.
If you’re doing your own promotion for an on-farm workshop, advertise it online and in local classifieds, ask store owners if you can put up fliers (such as a cooking demonstration flier at a kitchen shop), and limit the number to four to six paid attendees, allowing a waiting list in case any cancel at the last minute. Don’t hold on to expectations about how it’s supposed to turn out; just do it once and assess afterward how you feel about it.
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