Visitors to Florida – and Floridians themselves – are diving deeper not only into the ocean, but into the state’s diverse agriculture industry, participating in exciting and educational activities at farms.
Agritourism is a combination of agriculture and tourism (Florida’s two largest industries), and includes destinations such as wineries, u-pick farms and farmers markets, and activities including farm stays, oystering and horseback riding. With an industry as diverse as Florida’s, there’s a wide range of activities to choose from.
“Agritourism connects people to the land,” says Melissa Hunt, marketing representative at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “It provides alternatives to those who are looking beyond the more expected tourist activities. And with more than 47,700 farms in Florida, it’s becoming easier to find an agritourism activity near the tourist hot spots.”
Hunt emphasizes that Florida agritourism activities are fun options that are available in addition to the state’s already popular attractions. In addition, Florida agritourism is connecting consumers with producers, educating them on where their food comes from.
“For the producer, being able to share what you do with someone new to farming or farm processes gives a better understanding and a reason why it needs to continue,” Hunt says. “The educational component is important for both consumer and farmer.”
She adds that more communities are recognizing the value of adding agritourism destinations and seeing that it helps to debunk some common agricultural myths.
“The experience is more than just about food,” Hunt says. “It’s connecting them to the land and farmer. It’s passing on agricultural history to someone who might have never heard that narrative before.”