Countywide agri-tourism workshop links Rangely, Meeker

Agri-tourism means sharing the agricultural life of our surroundings with those who may have never seen or been to a working ranch, farm, dairy, etc. Above, Deana Wood is feeding a calf during calving season on a Rio Blanco County ranch.
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Agri-tourism means sharing the agricultural life of our surroundings with those who may have never seen or been to a working ranch, farm, dairy, etc. Above, Deana Wood is feeding a calf during calving season on a Rio Blanco County ranch.
Agri-tourism means sharing the agricultural life of our surroundings with those who may have never seen or been to a working ranch, farm, dairy, etc. Above, Deana Wood is feeding a calf during calving season on a Rio Blanco County ranch.
RBC I Rio Blanco County Historical Society’s Heritage Culture Center Committee hosted an agri-tourism workshop on April 19, opening it up via video conferencing to Rangely and anyone who wanted to join in the conversation.

Those gathered were delighted when Kelli Hepler (tourism coordinator at Our Side of the Divide, Delta County, Colo.,) also signed in from Delta to be a part of the interaction that took place at the Meeker Public Library.
The purpose of the workshop was to share agri-tourism ideas and take the first step in forming “clusters” of possible farming, ranching, agriculture locations and experiences to share with tourists.
The formal definition of “agri-tourism” provided by the State of Colorado is: “The practice of engaging in activities, events and services that have been provided to consumers for recreational, entertainment or educational purposes at a farm, ranch or other agricultural, horticultural or agribusiness operation in order to allow consumers to experience, learn about and participate in various facets of agricultural industry, culinary pursuits, natural resources and heritage.”
Through discussion, the group specifically learned that participating in a tour loop and educating visitors about agriculture doesn’t have to be a daily commitment but that there are several ways to make it work including: Tours by season with days/hours advertised; if “Agri-tour” banner is out, meaning “we are open;” only scheduled events (farm to table event, fall pumpkin patch, etc.); tours by appointment; or lastly a community event—such as a farmer’s market.
Adding action to information, those present worked on two agri-tourism tour loops, with one being from Rangely to Meeker with strong participation in Rangely. The participants present offered ideas for each of these with Rangely suggesting their Community Garden, Pumpkin Patch, Equine Program, CNCC Stargazing, Rodeo and Dinosaur Tour. For more information on the Rangely Community Gardens, go to their Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/ RangelyGardens/
At the other end of the loop, Meeker plans to showcase its new farmer’s market, set to launch on June 11 from 8 a.m. to noon, featuring local Colorado vendors ranging from produce to various food products, grass-fed and sustainable meats, handmade artisan goods like soaps and personal care items and homemade all-natural gourmet treats.
To be located between 4th Street and the downtown pavilion on Main Street, the market welcomes everyone to support this community effort. Contact Carley Smith for more information or for vendor application at: carley.smith@rbc.us
Another loop outside of Meeker was discussed with possible agriculture activities on County Road 4, including the Upper Colorado Environmental Plant Center, which already conducts tours and educates the public on agriculture.
Anyone interested in being a part of sharing your ranching, farming or other agricultural activities, contact RBCHS at president@rioblancocounty.org.