California Agritourism News December 2018
News and notes for the agritourism community from UC SAREP

Since our last newsletter, as we all know, devastating wild fires destroyed the homes, farms and businesses of many of our neighbors. Recovery is slow and help is still needed. Please consider a holiday season donation to the North Valley Community Fund , assisting those impacted by the Camp Fire, or the Ventura County Community Foundation , assisting Hill and Woolsey Fire survivors.

In this newsletter:
  • Agritourism Intensive Classes soon in Calaveras & Santa Cruz Counties
  • - UC agritourism directory and event calendar
  • County agritourism planning updates: Contra Costa, Siskiyou & Shasta
  • Maize Quest agritourism survey
  • National Extension Tourism Conference call for proposals
  • Fruitguys Community Fund grants
  • Upcoming conferences
  • Useful resources

Thanks for all you're doing.
Please stay in touch; let us know your stories and updates for the next newsletter!

Penny Leff
Agritourism Coordinator
UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program
UC SAREP Agritourism Programs
Agritourism Intensive Classes in Calaveras & Santa Cruz Counties
Are you considering starting or expanding
an agritourism or nature tourism business?

This class is for you!

Agritourism can include farm stands or shops, U-pick, farm stays, farm tours, on-farm classes, fairs, festivals, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, Christmas tree farms, wine tasting, orchard dinners, youth camps, barn dances, hunting or fishing, bird watching, guest ranches, and more.

Join other farmers and ranchers in either Watsonville or Angels Camp this winter for a 3-session hands-on, low-cost, interactive class to evaluate your options, learn from experts, and begin planning your new or expanded agritourism enterprise.

Cost:  $60 for 3-session course, includes lunches, snacks, handouts and workbook.

Santa Cruz County Class will be held at the UCCE auditorium in Watsonville on THURSDAYS Jan. 10, Feb. 7 and March 7, 2019

 Calaveras County Class will be held at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in Angels Camp WEDNESDAYS Jan. 30, Feb.27 & March 27, 2019

This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2015-49200-24225 .
ranch women at Orland class
  • Local agritourism operators will share their own experiences and will be part of a supportive network of advisors as class participants plan and start new enterprises.

  • Participants will learn from experts in business planning, regulatory compliance, risk management, hospitality and cost-effective marketing.

  •  The hands-on, interactive activities will guide participants as they assess their own farms or ranches for agritourism potential and start their own business, risk management and marketing plans. 

We invite California farmers and ranchers operating agritourism businesses or events to complete the  directory application  or event listing form  online (remember to upload a picture too).

Already listed? Please check your listing and send us any changes (and a picture) using the  update form .

Or - just add  to your email blast list to share your event news - we'll grab what we can for the calendar.

County Agritourism Planning Updates
Contra Costa County discusses agricultural land use policies
Jan 10 in Knightsen
Goal: Sustaining Agricultural lands by Improving Economic Vitality
Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgess invites Contra Costa County farmers and other stakeholders to attend the next in a series of meetings to review the County's land use policies related to agriculture. This meeting will include reviewing prior meeting outcomes, continuing the discussion on the pros and cons about the proposed uses and discussing draft policy recommendations.

Farmers, ranchers and agricultural organization representatives have participated in several meetings in different regions of Contra Costa County, proposing county agricultural policies that allow farm stays, rural restaurants, incubator farms for new farmers, clean safe farm-worker housing, and cattle grazing on public parkland, as a start. County staff have responded with draft policy recommendations that will be discussed at the next meeting. You are invited to submit comments to these recommendations by December 21, 2018. Please email your comments to

The next meeting in this series will be held on Thursday, January 10, 2019 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. at Knightsen Farm Bureau, 3020 Second Street, Knightsen. Everyone is welcome.

To learn more, contact Jennifer Cruz, Senior Planner, Contra Costa County Department of Conservation and Development at 925-674-7790 or
Siskiyou County in CEQA process for proposed changes

Motivated by an increase in public interest about agricultural operations, and the lack of any guidelines for county staff in regulating events and agritourism activities on farms and ranches, Siskiyou County is taking steps to create some rules that work for farmers, ranchers and their neighbors. The Siskiyou County Planning Commission appointed an Agritourism Technical Advisory Committee that met throughout the spring to discuss potential changes to the County code regarding agritourism. The committee gave its recommendation to the Planning Commission in June and the Commission directed staff and Counsel to draft the zoning revision. Here is the committee report.

The proposed zone changes are currently in the CEQA review process, and are expected to be discussed at the Planning Commission meeting in February. All meetings regarding the proposed changes will be public and will be noticed in the newspaper and on the county website.

For more information, please contact Christy Cummings Dawson,
Shasta County to draft agritourism ordinance
Shasta County's Director of Resource Management, Paul Hellman, plans to draft an agritourism ordinance in 2019 with input from an informal group of industry, community and agency representatives. No timeline for the preparation of the ordinance is set yet, but Hellman is gathering a list of individuals who are interested in participating in the process.

Farmers, ranchers and others in Shasta County who would like to participate in the process or learn more should contact Paul Hellman:
Your participation is invited ...
2018 Agritourism Survey is LIVE
You are invited to participate in the 2018 agritourism survey organized by Hugh McPherson of Maize Quest Corn Mazes
It's important to note that this survey is not limited to any particular corn maze company, wine association, NAFDMA members, state horticulture group, the United States or other affiliation. It is industry-wide and YOU may participate!
The survey has been and will always be free , the only caveat is that, if you want to view the results, you must participate by completing the survey . Take survey here
NET STOR 2019 Call for Proposals

The 2019 Sustainable Tourism & Outdoor Recreation Conference, organized by National Extension Tourism Design Team (NET), will be held in Astoria, Oregon, October 8-11, 2019.

This is an outstanding opportunity for Extension professionals, academic faculty, and others working in the broad area of tourism and recreation, including tourism service providers and businesses, to share programs, initiatives, research, and success stories, and network with other professionals. Learn more
picture of farmer
Fruitguys Community Fund
 Small grants for sustainability projects

Each spring, The FruitGuys Community Fund provides grants of up to $5,000 to small American farms and agricultural nonprofits for sustainability projects that have large positive impacts on the environment, local food systems, and farm diversity.

Letters of intent for the 2019 Grant Cycle are due by Friday January 11, 2019

UPCOMING Educational Opportunities
The Ecological Farming Association invites all to register for the 39th annual EcoFarm Conference, to be held January 23 - 26, 2019 in Pacific Grove, CA

EcoFarm nurtures just and ecologically sustainable farms and food systems through education, alliance building, celebration and advocacy.

CSFC logo 2019
This year, the conference is merging with the annual Farmers Guild-Raising, with Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) taking the reins to combine the best of both events into two great days.

The conference will be held in Davis on February 22 & 23, 2019. Learn more
North America Farm Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA): Farmers Inspired
NAFDMA is a membership-based non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the farm direct marketing and agritourism industry. The 2019 NAFDMA Business Conference will take place in Noblesville, IN Feb. 1 - 6, 2019

  • Farm-Based Education Network - A free international member network established to strengthen and support the work of educators, farmers and community leaders providing access and experiences of all kinds on productive working farms.

  • Farm Stay U.S. -The website of the U.S. Farm Stay Association, promoting farm and ranch stays in the United States and providing resources for farm stay operators and visitors.

  • Hipcamp Landshare - rural accommodations marketing site - If you are legally permitted to offer camping, cabins, or any kind of farm stay or guest ranch on your land, these San Francisco based folks may be good marketing partners.

  • Harvest Hosts - a program that connects farms and wineries with RV owners. Invite Harvest Hosts' RV owners to park overnight on your property and benefit from the goodwill that motivates them to make purchases.

  • AgritourismReady website - Created by Ohio State University Extension: A One Stop Shop for preparing your emergency management plan

  • North American Farm Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA) - a membership based trade association dedicated to providing endless peer-to-peer learning opportunities, connections and resources, for farmers who are passionate about the business of agritourism and farm direct marketing.