State receives grant for agricultural and culinary tourism

Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross and Commissioner of Tourism and Marketing Megan Smith kicked off the Farm-Based Education Forum at the Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms on Tuesday, Oct. 22 with good news: An $88,500 agritourism grant was awarded to the State of Vermont and its partners.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) grant has great potential to further Vermont’s leadership in agriculture and culinary tourism,” informed Shelburne Farms Public Relations and Marketing Director Vera Chang.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, in partnership with Shelburne Farms, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, and University of Vermont Extension, is proud to be the recipient of one of the larger grants to be awarded to any state in this 2013 FSMIP competition. Funds will be used for agricultural and culinary tourism research, evaluation, marketing, and leadership and network development.

The Farm-Based Education Forum: Agritourism, Education and Economics on Your Farm is a two-day skill-building and networking event to support farms that are currently open to the public, or considering this step, as well as educators, agricultural service providers, and tourism enterprises who work with farms. Planned field trips and conference workshops on Oct. 23 will discuss engaging the public in various ways on farms, expanding direct sales and partnerships with tourism enterprises, zoning, educational programming, business planning, and marketing.

For more information, contact Vera Simon-Nobes (985-8686 or vsimonnobes@shelburnefarms.org) or Lisa Chase (257-7967 or lisa.chase@uvm.edu) or visit www.farmbasededucation.org/events/forum.

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