DAVIS, Calif. — A series of upcoming University of California webinars will provide free marketing and other advice to farms that have made agritourism a part of their business.
The hour-long, 11 a.m. webinars will be held every two weeks starting May 19 and will include topics such as marketing strategies, using social media, complying with regulations and offering a positive experience to customers.
The webinars will be co-hosted by the UC’s Small Farms Program, which is in its fourth year of conducting classes to generate interest among growers to diversify their incomes through agritourism.
“It’s kind of an advanced course,” said Penny Leff, agritourism coordinator for the UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “It’s not so much how to do agritourism; it’s topics that will be useful to people that are already doing agritourism as well as people in the tourism community and county staff.”
The opening webinar on May 19 will focus on identifying and connecting with customers. Presenters will be Kristen Skaggs and Anna Farrell of the Farrell Design Group and “Farmer Al” Courchesne of Frog Hollow Farm, a 141-acre organic fruit producer in Brentwood, Calif. Other dates include:
• June 2: Kristin York of the Sierra Business Council and Lauren Gagliano Saline of Suzie’s Farm in San Diego will discuss how to get the most out of social media and websites. Suzie’s Farm grows organic produce on 70 acres.
• June 16: Marin County Agricultural Ombudsman Karen Giovannini and Tom Purciel of the El Dorado Planning Department talk about navigating and negotiating permits and regulations.
• June 30: Tiffany Dozier of the Yolo County Visitors Bureau and Evan Oakes of Ag Venture Tours and Consulting will discuss using partners in promotions.
• July 14: The webinar will examine the customer experience with Scottie Jones of the U.S. Farm Stay Association and Meghan Bishop of Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm in Wheatland, Calif.
The series, which is funded by the USDA Farmers’ Market Promotion Program, is co-sponsored by FarmsReach, a member-supported private organization that helps small growers. FarmsReach is also offering online forums and an agritourism toolkit.
The webinars come as about 1,500 farms in California incorporate an agritourism component, joining more than 2,000 wineries that have tasting rooms open to the public, Leff said.
Registration is being taken for each of the webinars. Space is limited to 100 people, but the webinars will also be recorded and posted online.
For more information, contact Leff at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-7779.