Agritourism challenge launched

·2 min read

A new challenge for rural businesses looking to the enter area of agritourism can enter a new challenge being offered by Community Futures Wild Rose (CFWR).

The Agritourism Innovation Challenge is being offered to entrepreneurs, farmers and tourism businesses looking to develop on- and off-farm experiences. The initiative includes a training program that will help each business learn the tools needed to develop a successful agritourism business.

This includes information on developing partnerships with other like-minded organizations, the benefits of agritourism to operators and securing a workforce, said Wendy Gerbrandt, CFWR community economic development project leader.

“They’re going to go through a process of developing their business plan and, through that, develop authentic tourism experiences to bring visitors to their farm, or work in conjunction with a restaurant to increase that culinary exposure,” explained Gerbrandt.

Marketing will be another component, helping find a customer base and determine the type of products they can offer at their location, she said.

After the training program, there will be a launch event in March which will likely be held virtually due to COVID-19 public health restrictions. This will take the form of a pitch competition, where business plans pitched by each business will be assessed, and awards given to the winners.

All participants will be offered marketing support to further execute their business plan. This will include a videographer helping to create virtual experiences or product promotion, as well as a photography portfolio and website development.

“That will help them with their marketing efforts, because those are pieces that we’ve been lacking in the region to showcase our businesses,” said Gerbrandt.

The program is funded by the government of Canada, the government of Alberta, Community Futures Wild Rose and the Rural Opportunities Fund. Registration is open until February and can be completed online at wildroseagritourism.ca or by emailing info@wildroseagritourism.ca.

Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times