Author and television host P. Allen Smith will be the keynote speaker at the inaugural Arkansas Agritourism Association later this month in Little Rock.
Smith is a conservationist, lifestyle expert and garden designer, who owns Moss Mountain Farm I Roland, Ark. The farm is available for tours, private gatherings, weddings and other social or business events.
The conference, which will commemorate the agritourism association’s one year anniversary, will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service in Little Rock. It will feature workshop sessions on food safety, marketing techniques, hospitality, an insurance roundtable and various networking opportunities.
The Arkansas Agritourism Association was organized in 2017 to explore the possibility of forming a statewide association. Technical assistance was provided by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, Arkansas Tourism and the Arkansas Agriculture Department.
The organization provides support, education, technical assistance and networking opportunities for current and potential agritourism operators throughout the state. The group held its first official meeting Feb. 26, 2018, to establish bylaws and elect officers and board members.
According to Arkansas.com, agritourism vacations include farmers markets, U-pick farms, fee hunting and fishing, agricultural-related festivals, farm tours, eco-tourism ventures and trail rides as well as winery tours, hayrides and pumpkin patches.
“[It is] anything that generates extra business for farmers while promoting education and entertainment about Arkansas agriculture. For decades there’s been a farm-to-city flow, yet many people don’t understand how food is grown. Agritourism is a way to build a bridge between rural and urban Arkansas,” the website states.
Early registration to the conference is encouraged. More information is available here.