Capacity Building Workshops: Developing Regional Agritourism Networks for Agricultural Sustainability and Education

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2010: $59,558.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Penny Leff
UC Sustatinable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP)

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: display, extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, workshop, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development, marketing management, agricultural finance, risk management, value added, agritourism
  • Sustainable Communities: leadership development, new business opportunities, urban/rural integration, analysis of personal/family life, employment opportunities, social capital, social networks


    Agritourism is a fast-growing diversification strategy for small and mid-size farms in California, but most agricultural professionals are unfamiliar with the possibilities and challenges of agritourism development. To help develop supportive networks, we organized five regional workshops, with 355 total participants, featuring presentations by agritourism operators, marketing professionals, agricultural advisors and county planning staff. We facilitated brainstorming and networking among agritourism industry partners from multiple counties in each region. All workshop participants received regular newsletters and social media communication. Evaluations and follow-up surveys show increased knowledge, new enterprise development, new regional and statewide collaborations and changes to county zoning ordinances.

    Project objectives:

    Initial proposal outcomes:
    • Increased knowledge by 300 regional professionals of agritourism operation activities, development, marketing and challenges
      Increased awareness by 300 regional professionals of regional agritourism organization development and best practices for organizational sustainability
      Introduction to other regional professionals interested in agritourism development.
      Ability by 100 workshop participants to participate in organizing introductory workshops for farmers and ranchers considering agritourism
      Ability by 100 workshop participants to participate in regional agritourism organization development
      Increased communication and networking among at least 20 workshop participants within each region for the purpose of agritourism development.
      The establishment of 2 to 7 new agritourism operations in each region within 12 months.
      Profitable participation in public sustainable agriculture education programs by 2 to 7 new agritourism operators in each region within 12 months.
      The development of at least 2 new sustainable regional agritourism organizations nurtured or facilitated by workshop participants throughout California within 2 years.
      A statewide coalition of agritourism professionals, operators, promoters, supporters, regulators and advisors.

    Other objectives:
    • Encourage easing of permitting and regulatory barriers to new agritourism operations
      Encourage business planning, risk management, hospitality skill development and effective marketing by farmers and ranchers diversifying with agritourism.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.