Burlington--Throughout the pandemic, many Vermont farms open to visitors have quickly transitioned their operations to provide safe, contactless sales and encourage safe outdoor activities on the farm such as u-pick berries and apples, walking trails and grab-and-go picnics.

To help agritourism businesses navigate COVID-19 regulations to remain viable by prioritizing the health and safety of their customers and communities, University of Vermont (UVM) Extension and DigInVT have released a new guide. It is available on-line at www.uvm.edu/extension/vtagritourism.

"Our job at UVM Extension is to help farms meet COVID-19 standards, so they can continue to provide fresh food and outdoor recreation while keeping their farms and visitors safe during the pandemic," explains UVM Extension professor Lisa Chase. "This guide will serve as a hub to access up-to-date information regarding health and safety for farms open to visitors."

Supported by a grant from the UVM Office of Engagement, the guide outlines best management practices and provides links to resources for health and safety requirements, including proper sanitation practices, guidelines for farmers markets and training of employees on new COVID-19 procedures and policies. It also covers ways to increase direct sales through farm stands and curbside pickup, manage the number and flow of customers, develop on-line sales and offer drive-through or virtual farm tours.

"Some Vermont farms have seen a significant decline in the number of visitors since the pandemic began while others have experienced substantial increases in local sales," Chase says. "To help them manage traffic on their farm, the guide also includes a section on developing a communication strategy to inform customers about new COVID-19 customer capacity and agritourism practices."

For more information, contact Lisa Chase at lisa.chase@uvm.edu.

PUBLISHED

02-11-2021
Lisa Chase