Planning our next steps: Agritourism in Georgia

Kevin and I spent the last two days learning about the agritourism industry in Georgia. As fledgling members of the Georgia Agritourism Association, we attended a convention at Unicoi State Park absorbing all we could about this potential new business venture for our family.

The first day was the farm tour! Since the convention took place in our Northeast Georgia area, we were already familiar with several of the farms on the schedule. It was very interesting, however, to see these same places through the lens of their agritourism operations. Other farms on the tour were new to us.

We visited:

Glo-Crest Dairy and Mountain Fresh Creamery

Sweet Acre Farms Winery

Jaemor Farms

Hillside Orchard Farms

and Georgia’s newest state historic site, Hardman Farm

The second day, we spent in educational sessions learning about the different facets of the agritourism industry in Georgia. As a former Georgia educator, I found the session linking what people are doing on their farms to Georgia STEM requirements (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) of particular interest. Speakers encouraged participants to learn about the standards that educators are required to teach in their classrooms and bridge together how these translate into real-world food and fiber production at individual farms. Also of personal interest, participants were instructed how to connect with bloggers to promote themselves and use other social media tools in order to grow their businesses.

Other sessions focused on food safety, getting Georgia products into Georgia schools, marketing displays, and employee management. We learned so much! We also met some really amazing and helpful people. I took lots of notes and hope to spend the next weeks and months processing what I learned and following up on industry connections that we made. I am so thankful that we found out about this association, it’s partnership with Georgia Grown, and the contacts that we made with farmers and farming partners around the state.

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