Getting Started: Farm Tours and Educational Events
Thinking about opening your farm up to the public for tours, classes, or other educational events? Use these checklists to get you started on the right path when it comes to licenses, regulations and permits.
Land Use Regulations
- Read through the zoning regulations for your municipality and familiarize yourself with Act 143. To determine if your agritourism addition meets the specifications of Act 143, you can use the guide above.
- Obtain a zoning permit, if necessary.
- Determine if your municipality requires a site plan review.
- Submit an application and site plan review to your municipality, if necessary.
- When offering a tour to the public, the tour will need to comply with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).This may mean creating accessible routes over uneven ground or installing a ramp.
- Read through Act 31.
- Post signs at agritourism activities that meet the specifications of Act 31.
- Include the warning notice language in every written contract between an agritourism host and a participant.
- Check with your insurance agent to make sure this type of event is covered in your policy.
- Meet with a regional permit specialist .
- If proposing construction/renovations for a commercial purpose or otherwise, contact a Natural Resources Board (NRB) district coordinator to determine whether an Act 250 land use permit application is required .
- If doing construction/renovations, obtain a public building permit.
- If you are adding bathrooms or additional space which increases your septic load, obtain a wastewater permit .
- Decide if there will be any tastings given as part of the tour.
- For licensing, operators are expected to demonstrate knowledge of food safety. The ServSafe (or other) certification is not specifically required, however, it is recommended that operators participate in some kind of food safety training to increase knowledge of safe food handling.
- Research any regulations and permits that may be necessary for those products that you will be allowing guests to sample. (You should also consider this under Act 143.)
If you are producing and serving food regularly, then you may need licensing from the agency for food processing as well as separate licensing for food service from the Department of Health. The following table can help you navigate the regulations and licenses required for various types of foods and products that you may be selling or serving.
|Food Product||Examples||Agency with Oversight||Permits/Licenses that Apply|
|Milk, cheese||Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, Dairy Section|
|Ice cream, sorbet||Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, Dairy Section|
|Pastries, bread, cake|
Vermont Department of Health, Bakery Section
|Sliced deli meat, sausages, whole meat cuts||Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets|
|Candy, popcorn, jellies, ciders|
Vermont Department of Health
|Fruits, meat||Vermont Department of Health for fruit and vegetables and Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets for meat|
Phone (Department of Health): 802-863-7221Phone (VAAFM): 802-828-2426
Malt and Vinous Beverages
|Wine, beer, spirits, cider, mead||Department of liquor control enforcement and licensing division|
|Syrup, sugar||Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, Maple section|
|Tomatoes, corn, squash||Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets|