Agritourism During COVID
Coloraodo’s agritourism industry appears to be finding the silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Agritourism, conducted and enjoyed outdoors, complies easily with safety recommendations such as social distancing.
Hepler: “ You can go biking, you can go hiking. I can go on a farm and easily stand 6 feet away from anybody who is not part of my family. And we can see goats and we can see how corn is grown and we can pick our own fruit. There’s this perception that it’s safer because it’s outside. “
Kelly Hepler is president of the Colorado Agritourism Association and Director of Delta County Tourism.
Hepler tells Colorado Ag Today that supply chain issues at the beginning of the pandemic saw consumers more focused on the source of their food.
Hepler: “The toilet paper issue was just the beginning. Then when they went to the grocery store and seeing that some of the things they were used to seeing in the produce aisle were not there. And it’s not that they weren’t there because it wasn't grown but getting it shipped to their stores was an issue.”
Hepler says some Delta County farmers reported 30 people in a week calling to learn how to grow their own gardens when typically 30 people in a year would ask about home gardens.
Hepler: “Even some of them know this person does not want to grow their own stuff they just want to know I can come to this farm and they’re going to grow lettuce, tomatoes, beans and corn or whatever.”
Hepler will speak during July 28th virtual roundtable on the Western Slope Ag Recovery hosted by the Department of Agriculture. Information and rsvp go to www.colorodoproud.org
Helpler will be joined by Bruce Talbott of Talbott Farms in Palisade, Josh Niernberg, executive chef and owner Bin 707 Foodbar in Grand Junction, and Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg.