Below are some helpful definitions from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development relating to agritourism and direct marketing. http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/explore13590
Farm Direct Marketing
Selling farm direct means selling fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, bedding plants, herbs, meats, jams, pies, sausages and other farm products at a farm or ranch gate, a farm or ranch store or stand, a roadside stall, an on-farm greenhouse, a U-pick farm, a community supported agriculture farm or by Internet or mail from a farm directly to the end consumer. Developing relationships with your customers is key to the success of this marketing channel. Many farm direct marketing businesses add ag-tourism events such as farm festivals, birthday parties and children’s activities to their marketing mix. These events bring more customers to the farm, encourage them to stay longer and spend more money.
A niche farm direct marketing channel which creates the opportunity for customers to buy Alberta grown food, crafts and homemade goods from the Alberta producer, crafter or entrepreneur. The resulting communication and sharing of information creates trust and builds a sense of community. The market is designed to become a destination and attraction which builds goodwill, sharing and community support reminiscent of the ‘town square’ of previous generations.
Community Shared Agriculture (CSA)
CSAs – community shared agriculture or community supported agriculture – are part of a growing social movement that encourages urban and rural citizens to share responsibility for the land where their food is grown as well as for how their food is produced. In simplest terms, CSA is a partnership between agricultural producers and consumers where consumers pledge support to a farming operation in advance of production occurring for the season. CSAs usually consist of a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables and fruit, in a vegetable box arrangement, and sometimes includes dairy products and meat.
Ag tourism is the marriage between two of Alberta’s top industries – agriculture and tourism. It presents the consumer or tourist with an opportunity to engage in a direct exchange of values between themselves and the farm community – whether it is at a farmers’ market, on a farm tour, at an agriculture festival or fair, or at a country vacation farm or market garden. Ag tourism is a collection of ag-based attractions, events and services:
- Heritage farms and ranches
- Farm recreation and visits
- Ag industry tours
- Conferences/trade shows
- Horse and livestock shows
- Tour operators
- Food and beverage
A cluster is a group of like-minded stakeholders and operators who come together to increase the profile for their operations and geographic area, along an ag tourism theme. Cluster development is an internationally recognized economic development process. We know that the ag tourism industry in Alberta can benefit from this process by using agriculture as a theme to link dispersed operators. Through cluster partnerships ag tourism operators can: access new markets, boost profile and awareness, and increase the overall appeal and draw to a region – ultimately resulting in increased profits.
Regional cuisine advocates the usage of quality locally grown ingredients, in union with the culture, geography, and history of Alberta. The “Dine Alberta: Savour the Regional Flavour“ program is a stimulating way to showcase local agriculture products, family owned farms, and value added processing. Alberta’s best chefs, at restaurants, bistros, catered food events, B&B’s and meal preparation establishments are using Alberta’s best home grown foods to create unforgettable meals all year round.
Culinary tourism is the marriage of tourism and regional cuisine. It advocates experiencing the food of the country, region or area, and is considered a vital component of the tourism experience.