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

As the seasons change, I hope you are slowing down a little and enjoying some time with family and friends. It's been a while since our last newsletter, but California agritourism is alive and thriving.

In this newsletter:
  • New guide published online: "Hosting Farm Dinners on Your California Farm"
  • Agritourism Intensive Classes soon in Calaveras & Santa Cruz Counties
  • - UC agritourism directory offers free listings and calendar of events
  • Contra Costa County meetings to review Agricultural Land Use Policies
  • Siskiyou County drafting new agritourism zoning ordinances
  • Upcoming Educational Opportunities
  • Useful resources

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

Penny Leff
Agritourism Coordinator
UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program
UC SAREP Agritourism Programs
New: Guide to Hosting Farm Dinners just published online

You've probably seen farms and organizations offering farm-to-table dinners at high ticket prices. Perhaps you've heard stories about how quickly these can sell out. Farm dinner organizers and regulators tell us it isn't as easy as it may look.

For many, offering a farm dinner can be a great way to diversify income and better connect with current and future customers. It can also open you up to many risks, involve different staffing, food safety and marketing plans, and probably a major farm clean-up to get ready for guests.

As part of UC SAREP's " Growing California Agritourism Communities" project, we have just completed a guide that examines the Farm Dinner model, helps you determine whether it's suitable for your farm and gives examples and suggestions for planning, marketing, organizing and offering a dinner or meal on your farm.

Agritourism Intensive Classes in Calaveras & Santa Cruz Counties
Are you considering starting or expanding
an agritourism or nature tourism business?

Join other farmers and ranchers in either Watsonville or Angels Camp this coming 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.

Santa Cruz County Class will be held at the UCCE auditorium in Watsonville on Wednesdays January 10, February 7 and March 7, 2019.

Calaveras County Class will be held at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in Angels Camp on Thursdays January 30, February 27 and March 27, 2019. Learn more and register here.

This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2015-49200-24225 .

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.

Contra Costa County continues review of
Agricultural Land Use Policy
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 sixth meeting 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.

The sixth meeting in this series will be held on Thursday, November 15th 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. at Knightsen Farm Bureau, 3020 Second Street, Knightsen. Please rsvp here if you are planning to attend. Everyone is welcome.

To learn more,visit for updated information and meeting dates, or contact Jennifer Cruz, Senior Planner, Contra Costa County Department of Conservation and Development at 925-674-7790 or
Siskiyou County drafting agritourism zoning code revisions
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 December. 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,
Does groundwater pumping affect your energy costs?

Groundwater pumping significantly affects energy costs for growers. Lawrence Berkeley Lab, funded by the California Energy Commission, wants to hear directly from farmers and ranchers about their experience with the energy needed to pump groundwater. Keep an eye on your email inbox and next month’s newsletter for a link to the survey, and in the meantime feel free to contact for more information.
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

  • 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.