Shelburne Farms Event Brings Together Farms, Educators, and Tourism Enterprises
- By Lisa Chase
Shelburne--The historic barns, hillsides dotted with cows and steaming sugarhouses of Vermont's working landscape have been iconic images of the state for many years. Increasingly, visitors want to do more than drive by these pastoral images. They want to roll up their sleeves, milk a cow, dig potatoes and learn more about the food system with all five senses.
On Oct. 22 and 23, the Farm-Based Education Network and Vermont Farms! Association are collaborating with University of Vermont Extension, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and Shelburne Farms to offer the Farm-Based Education Forum: Agritourism, Education and Economics on Your Farm. The forum will take place at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne. This two-day, skill-building event will support farms that are currently open to the public, or considering this step, as well as educators and agricultural service providers who work with farms and tourism enterprises that partner with farms in their communities.
On Oct. 22 attendees may choose from a number of field trips to farms in the Champlain Islands, Chittenden, Addison and Rutland counties or attend a full-day workshop on the ABCs of farm-based education. The day is capped off with dinner prepared by the Inn at Shelburne Farms. The Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing Megan Smith and Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross will give welcoming remarks about the importance of agritourism to the state's economy and working landscape.
The following day attendees can mix and match workshop offerings, which cover such topics as marketing, online communications and social media, business planning and innovative ideas around events, tours, dinners and other offerings to expand direct sales and partnerships with tourism enterprises. Registration is $45 for Oct. 23 with additional costs for the Oct. 22 field trips and dinner. Lodging at the Inn at Shelburne Farms is available for a reduced rate. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Lisa Chase at firstname.lastname@example.org or (802) 257-7967 by Oct. 11.