Farm Fresh Appalachia Farm Tours 2020
Northeast Tennessee – Saturday, June 20th
Southwest Virginia – Saturday, September 26th
Applications need to be submitted by March 16, 2020 for Tennessee, and July 2, 2020 for Virginia.
If you are a farmer in Northeast Tennessee or Southwest Virginia, and would like an opportunity to boost your business in 2020, please join us for the 3rd Annual Farm Fresh Appalachia Farm Tour!
We’re happy to announce that 2020 will mark the 3rd year of the Farm Fresh Appalachia Farm Tours. The 2019 tours were a huge success across the region, with a combined 26 participating farms in both states. Our first year, 2018 saw around 150 visitors. We were able to double that in 2019, with an estimated total of 300 farm tourists out exploring the food system. With such an outpouring of support from communities, we hope to continue to expand the event in 2020, serving more farmers and reaching more consumers across the region.
“We’ve gained many new customers from the Farm Tours. The tour allowed us to show people what we have to offer. People have signed up for cooking classes and have rented our pavilion. The farm tour was an excellent marketing tool for us and we will be participating again.” – Margie Kendell, manager of Serenity Knoll Farm & Cooking School
What are the perks for you, the farmer?
Opening up your farm to guests helps educate the public about the local food system, promoting local food across the region. Participants will learn about what you offer and continue to buy from you or book events at your farm. Participation in this event is free for you. Organizers are already promoting across the region. This includes Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and Western North Carolina.
How it works for farms:
You will receive promotional materials to help spread the word, road signs directing Farm Tourists to your farm the day of the event, an agri-tourism liability sign, and a basic first-aid kit. We will keep you up to date on the number of tickets sold. This will give us an estimated number of cars to expect. Tickets are sold as car passes – one ticket equals one car pass. The average car load is three participants.
In Tennessee, farm tours are limited to the current service region of the Appalachian Resource Conservation & Development Council. We hope, through organizational partnerships to be able to expand the tour to more Northeast Tennessee counties in the future. Right now farms in the following counties are welcome to apply: Washington, Greene, Sullivan, Carter, Unicoi, and Johnson.
We are asking that all farms have at least two additional support people the day of the event. You will need someone to help park vehicles, someone to welcome visitors, and someone directing tours or demonstrations. You will need a minimum of three people to host visitors during the Farm Tour.
Farms need to be within reasonable driving distance of other farms, creating farm clusters. Having clusters of farms to visit in an area is more inviting to Farm Tourists. Reach out to neighboring farmers. The more stops within 15 minutes driving distance, the more visitors you’ll have.
You will need to offer on farm demonstrations, tours, sell goods, pick your own operations etc. Hosting special events the day of the tour like those listed above entice Farm Tourists to visit your farm. Farm Tours are a family friendly event. Hosting special farm based children’s activities has proven to be a huge draw for attendees.
Parking — you’ll need to be able to accommodate at least 10 cars off the roadway.
Bathrooms are always a plus, but aren’t necessary. We will be placing porta-potties strategically throughout the tour for your guests. If you offer a pick-your-own, we do ask that you have a hand washing station or hand sanitizer.
How it works for Farm Tourists:
Farm Tourists will purchase a car pass for the day. This pass is for an entire car load of guests. Tourist will be able to purchase tickets online and in person at various events and locations. After they make their ticket purchase, they receive a digital Farm Tour packet. The packet will include a map of the tour, a schedule for the day with all farm information and events, and instructions (what to bring, not to bring pets etc.). The Farm Tourist determines their own destinations in this self-guided tour.
Early-bird tickets will go on sale April 6, 2020.
Tennessee Farm Tour event organizer: Rachel Wheeler firstname.lastname@example.org / (423) 979-2581
Virginia Farm Tour event organizer: Lindsey Felty email@example.com / (276) 623-1121
The Farm Fresh Appalachia Farm Tours are brought to you by the Appalachian RC&D Council, Appalachian Sustainable Development, Jonesborough Locally Grown, and the Northeast TN Tourism Association with support from the USDA.