Agritourism program's new home & new projects
California Agritourism News May 2017
from the University of California Small Farm Program

Thanks for opening the newsletter. In this issue:
  • UC Small Farm Program leader is retiring
  • Agritourism project to have a temporary new UC home
  • Deadline extended for workshop & short course proposals for California Small Farm Conference
  • directory and calendar promotion
  • Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge
  • Useful resources
Warm regards to everyone involved in California agritourism. Please stay in touch.

Penny Leff, UC Small Farm Program Agritourism Coordinator

UC Agritourism to have a temporary new home - UC SAREP

The leader of the UC Small Farm Program, Shermain Hardesty, is retiring at the end of June, 2017 after ten years of guiding the program. Since its beginning in 1979, the UC Small Farm Program's staff and county-based Small Farm Advisors have provided essential research and resources to many thousands of California's small-scale farmers and ranchers.

The UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) did not prioritize the hiring of an agricultural economist specializing in small farm economics, meaning that there currently is no one to lead the UC Small Farm Program in its current form after Hardesty's retirement. UC ANR leadership is in the process of reframing and aligning ANR programs with community and economic development objectives. It will develop a staffing/academic strategy to support community and economic development activities by July 2018. UC ANR Small Farm Advisors in many California counties will continue to work with small-scale farmers and ranchers, and will continue to work and plan together as a UC ANR work group.

UC Cooperative Extension agritourism programming and resources, developed by and based at the Small Farm Program since 1998, will have an interim home with UC ANR Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP). Penny Leff, UCCE Agritourism Coordinator, will begin working in June 2017 under the direction of Gail Feenstra, Deputy Director of UC SAREP.

With UC SAREP's support, Leff will continue to work with UC Cooperative Extension advisors to develop resources and connections for everyone involved in California agritourism, including continuation of this newsletter. Please stay tuned for upcoming changes in contact information and website resources, and new exciting projects.
"Growing California Agritourism Communities" Project starts soon

We're excited to announce that we have been selected for funding by the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education ( Western SARE) Program for our professional development project, "Growing California Agritourism Communities."

This project will be led by Project Director Gail Feenstra of UC SAREP and managed by Project Manager Penny Leff. We will offer training workshops to agricultural educators, tourism professionals, agritourism organization leaders and government staff to prepare these professionals for supporting and training farmers and ranchers in developing agritourism operations. We will also add to the vast collection of California-specific training materials about agritourism issues and popular agritourism activities that was created by the UC Small Farm Program.

Please watch for more news about this project soon. We look forward to working with you!

Proposal deadlines extended: Be part of the California Small Farm Conference!

The 30th California Small Farm Conference will be held October 29 and 30 in Stockton.

Mara & Her Basket by Fernanda Vega
Call for Workshop Proposals
The California Small Farm Conference features workshops for all experience levels across many different subjects tailored for farmers, ranchers and farmers' market managers. The 2017 conference is looking for workshop presenters in the areas of Certified Farmers' Markets, Marketing, Farm Management, Production, and Emerging Issues. Workshop proposals are due by May 31   Learn More

Call for Short Courses/ Field Courses
We invite our colleague organizations - farmer educators, farmers' market organizations and other related groups, to sponsor day-long or half-day short courses, field courses, training sessions, mini-conferences or other activities in partnership with the CSFC on Sunday October 29 at the Cabral Ag Center. Short Course proposals are due by May 31
When: Sunday, October 29 and Monday, October 30.
Think about how you can participate in October and who we should invite to share their experience, skill and insight. We're looking for the brightest and the best of small-scale farmers, food processors, farmers' market managers and marketers. We'd love to hear your ideas. Please send your thoughts or suggestions or questions to conference coordinator Tacy Currey,
We're promoting the NEW

Free listing for your agritourism activities and events 
If you are a working California farmer or rancher operating an agritourism business or organizing agritourism events, we invite you to complete the  directory application  or event listing form  online (remember to upload a picture too). You can also add  to your email newsletter list to share your event news - we'll grab what we can for the calendar. If you're already a member, please check your listing and send us any changes (and a picture) using the  update form . Join now - visits to the site are growing daily. IT'S ALL FREE.
  • We're on Twitter promoting your California agritourism events and activities - please follow, retweet or tag us about your events and activities for visitors - @CAagritourism
  • We have a new, visitor-targeted Facebook page - California Agritourism Adventures - please like us, share, and send us your news to promote on the page and in the online directory calendar.   
We look forward to helping promote your business!
Funding Opportunity:
Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge

The National Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. Rural entrepreneurs compete for $145,000 in startup funds. 
Ten rural entrepreneurs will share$145,000 in startup funds.
  • Four finalists will each be awarded $15,000 and compete for an additional $25,000
  • Six best-in-show winners will each be awarded $10,000, in these categories:
    • Best Farm Startup
    • Best Agritourism Startup
    • Best Farm-to-Table Startup
    • Best Ag Tech & Support Services Startup
    • Best Craft Beverage Startup
    • Best Local Product Startup
  • Learn more about the best-in-show categories.
Questions? Contact Lisa Benson at

Some useful resources... 
  • 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.
  • Toddypond Farm - A Farm Stay U.S. member
    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.  
Penny Leff, Agritourism Coordinator | UC Small Farm Program 
530-762-7779 |
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