As small farms struggle to keep up in a changing landscape, farmers have to rely on ingenuity to keep their businesses open. Some farmers, like 2019 grantee Scott Farm, now use agritourism to help them connect with customers and pay the bills. While they’re a relatively new trend in the United States, farm stays have been popular in many European countries since the 1990s. They exist, in part, to give city dwellers a refreshing taste of rural living. If you’re planning a summer getaway, consider booking a farm stay, for a fun, unique, and rewarding vacation experience.
Farm stays are great for several reasons:
- They’re a great way to disconnect and recharge from busy, modern living.
- Families with children can use a farm stay as a learning opportunity, exposing their children to how food is produced. Many farm stays, for example, offer opportunities to help pick tomatoes or collect eggs.
- If you love nature, but aren’t a fan of camping, a farm stay can be an excellent alternative. There are truly rustic farm stays available, if that’s what you’re looking for, but most include at least a few basic amenities.
- You can help support a small farm for about the same cost as a hotel or bed and breakfast stay.
- They offer a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and experience local culture in depth. Farm owners will be a lot friendlier in general and have more to offer than your average hotel clerk.
- A farm stay can make your travel a bit more eco-friendly because many will use fewer resources than a traditional hotel, not to mention you might even help produce your own dinner!
There are farm stays available that meet just about anyone’s desires. Spend a few nights in a rustic off-grid cabin, sleep in a renovated barn loft, or relax with all the amenities of a modern farmhouse. Learn to milk a goat in California; help harvest vegetables and learn about permaculture in Montana; or unwind on a fiber farm in Vermont, as you watch the sheep graze. Whatever your interest, there’s probably a picture-perfect farm stay waiting for your reservation.
Where to find a farm stay:
If a quick Google search doesn’t turn up the farm stay you’re looking for, or you need inspiration, check out these sites:
- Airbnb (check the “farm stay” box under the “unique stay” filter)
- Farm Stay USA
- WWOOF The World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms isn’t really a vacation, but it can be a good opportunity for those who wish to travel and learn about farming.
Make your vacation count this summer. Book a farm stay to relax and make unforgettable memories, all while helping support a small farm.