Rhode Island Agricultural Tourism Project

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2004: $84,980.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $29,280.00
Region: Northeast
State: Rhode Island
Project Leader:
Stuart Nunnery
RI Center for Agricultural Promotion and Education

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn, potatoes, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Additional Plants: ornamentals, trees


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Crop Production: agroforestry
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development, marketing management, feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study, risk management, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement, wildlife
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, analysis of personal/family life, community services, employment opportunities, social capital, social networks, social psychological indicators, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Rhode Island agriculture is at a crossroads. Farmers must adopt new income-generating enterprises and expand their traditional customer base to remain viable enterprises. We believe that agricultural tourism (AT) and related farm-based alternative enterprises and direct marketing can provide significant supplemental farm income and positively influence the long term viability of farming in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Center for Agricultural Promotion and Education (RICAPE), in association with its strategic partners – the RI Department of Environmental Management, Division of Agriculture & Marketing (DEM/Ag.) and the University of Rhode Island, Cooperative Extension (URI/CE), is proposing a unique a two-year education and research project that will enhance the ability of farmers and growers, working in a community context, to institute or improve agricultural tourism enterprises and boost on-farm sales of farm products and rural made goods. We also believe that the project will raise the profile of agriculture in RI and create a greater appreciation for the potential of agricultural tourism to contribute to the state’s total tourism industry. Moreover, participating URI Extension personnel, USDA specialists and other agricultural, rural development and state and local tourism agencies will be motivated to undertake the development of agricultural and nature-based tourism as part of their work. The RI Agricultural Tourism Research and Education Project will involve an estimated 150 participants in a variety of collaborative learning and networking opportunities including a series of eight workshops, funded demonstration projects and a state/regional conference. Through project experiences, the participants will learn the principles and practices of agricultural tourism (AT). Through their involvement in shared teaching and learning and establishing relationships with agricultural service providers, tourism specialists and youth educators, participating farmers and growers will be better equipped to lead the farm community in the development of new agricultural tourism endeavors and to capitalize on the exceptional economic success of Rhode Island’s tourist industry and the untapped potential of in-state demographics and special audiences. A culminating goal is to engage 20% of the project participants and conference attendees in the establishment of and continuing participation in a RI Institute for Agricultural Tourism and Alternative Enterprises and to explore the formation of a North East regional agricultural tourism network.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    We estimate 150 individuals will participate in a variety of educational and networking experiences and applied research projects including workshops, a state/regional conference, and funded demonstration/research projects.

    Through their participation farmers, growers and they will be better prepared to adopt new agricultural tourism activities and/or improve existing student and visitor experiences and direct marketing methods.

    Our culminating performance target is to engage 20% of the workshop participants and conference attendees in the establishment of a RI Institute for Agricultural Tourism and Alternative Enterprises.

    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.