Local meeting focuses on agri-tourism

MEEKER I If the thought of agri-tourism ever raised questions, or if the thought of living briefly the life of a ranch or farmer is interesting, a meeting in Meeker on Tuesday should slake your thirst for knowledge.

“Agri-tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the eco-tourism industry” writes Josh Lew of the Mother Nature Network, printed by The Huffington Post. “There is nothing new about this form of travel, which involves staying on a farm or other agriculture-oriented property and perhaps even sampling the day-to-day lifestyle of the people who tend the crops or livestock there.
“Tourists have been staying at Italian vineyards and Rocky Mountain ranches for decades,” he wrote. “The idea of relaxing in a beautiful setting or sampling the adventurous Old West lifestyle is certainly still part of the attraction of agri-tourism. On some farms that welcome tourists, however, the goal is less about providing a unique vacation and more about fostering a deeper understanding of the farming process through education and hands-on experience.”
This last statement is at the forefront of the agri-tourism vision with those cultivating heritage tourism plans and events at the newly activated Old West Heritage Culture Center here in Meeker.
They recognize that while it may be a pleasure to stay at one of our ranches in the area and enjoy the contrast from the hectic city life for a weekend or two, what the committee and Heritage Tourism Task Force would really like to introduce is education to the rural lifestyle along with the hands-on experience.
Task force members believe that offering what is second nature to most of us is a unique experience and memory for most visitors and can become a credible source of revenue to the sheep and cattle ranches and rural crafters and bee keepers and all those who share with others what’s involved with “living” rural.
Leading the way in Colorado agri-tourism is director Kelli Hepler, who is coming to Meeker on June 2 to speak about all the ideas and possibilities of this tourist niche.
She will also address the latest Colorado liability laws that support this industry and give us some success testimonies to inspire those interested.
Kelli has helped lead her own area—Delta County, Colo.—in enjoying agri-tourism’s maximum success.
Everyone is invited to attend this meeting Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Old West Heritage Culture Center in Meeker.
Bring your questions, ideas and support.