Plenty of city-dwellers have a sort of atavistic desire to get back to the soil, or a yearning to get their hands dirty on a farm without actually have to do it for a
living. At the same time, the hospitality industry has evolved to the point where a beach view and cocktails are no longer enough for many holidaymakers: many people
now volunteer their services in Third World countries to get away from it all, or spend a week pretending they’re hobbits. In either case, the value lies in having an
experience that’s both educational and memorable.
Farm life in itself will be a novelty for most people, and although the work never really ends, the pace of life on a farm tends to be more sedate than what many
people are used to.
Facilities You’ll Need
Visitors to a farm will not always understand things like how dangerous moving machinery and vehicles can be, so it’s definitely advisable to look into liability
insurance and make sure everything that needs a warning sign has one. Where small children are concerned, it may be necessary to erect physical barriers such as fences
in some cases, just in case one of them feels like trying to pet that cute bull in his paddock.
As for the rest, the type and and quality of amenities you’ll require depends on your target market – which should be defined as precisely as possible – and the
experience you wish to give them. Clearly, offering overnight
accommodation makes a major difference in the amount of work to be done, but also in the prices you can charge visitors. School groups may be satisfied with bunk
beds in a converted stable, and the more rustic the better. Families will require hotel-style suites, while people looking to get a taste of the outdoors will probably
be happy sleeping under canvas.
The latter is by far the cheapest available option, requiring only that you choose a corner of the farm to build sanitary facilities and other essentials on. The kind
of people who might like to visit a farm will probably not have tents, camping stoves and other essentials, so you will have to keep these on hand. This route offers a
Activities to Offer
Unless you intend to cease productive farming entirely, there’s no need to overcomplicate things. Guests will want to know more about where their food comes from,
what’s required to bring it to their tables and breathe some fresh air, not visit an amusement park.
You’re already in luck if your property contains a river or large pond, as many visitors will never have swum in anything other than a swimming pool. Areas left wild
can offer nature walks, while allowing people to lend a hand with the ordinary chores involved in caring for animals will already help to make their trip memorable. Of
course, necessary steps such as branding and castrating livestock are best kept out of sight and
People with the talent to spin a tale will have a certain advantage, as children but also adults will be eager to learn more about how farming works. Topics such as
the uses of what the farm produces, problem plants, organic farming methods and the general lifestyle will all be of interest to both young and old, whether in
presented in the form of semi-formal tours and lectures or just by sharing knowledge at appropriate moments.
Simulating the Simple Life
Farmwork isn’t all about rearing lambs by hand and eating peaches directly from the tree, although belaboring this point overmuch is not the best way to involve your
visitors’ hearts and minds. In a world where many children think pork chops and plums grow in styrofoam trays, farmers have a kind of responsibility to educate the
public as to what is involved in what goes into keeping the world fed, the ecological cost of certain farming methods and the way in which we’re all dependent on the
planet’s overall health.