Opportunities to blend agriculture and tourism

Agritourism opportunities

Back in 2017, British Columbia’s Ministry of Agriculture put together a 63-page manual to guide agritourism activities in B.C., aimed largely at farms so they could diversify their businesses with corn mazes, tractor tours, petting zoos and more.

You can still read the report online, if you’re so inclined. It defines agritourism as “tourism that supports agricultural production.”

This past week, the ministry (with it new name, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food), announced $70 million in funds to support farmers in replanting their vineyards, farms and orchards to make them more resilient to climate change.

You can start making plans to experience agritourism first hand this season, and immerse yourself in an experience at a farm, dine overlooking a vineyard, fetch ingredients while wandering a market or go to an agricultural fair.

Keep an eye on the pastoral pocket of the Garnet Valley above Summerland, its bespoke Garnet Valley Agri-Tourism Association, and its calmer culinary experiences. Start with Garnet Valley Ranch, which you can wander – with a guide – on foot or via electric golf cart, venturing to vineyards, field crops, a lavender cooperative, beehives and a reclaimed pond attracting birds of prey. This season plans are in the works for e-bikes and rides on horseback. One of very few structures at the ranch, tours end at a small winery tasting area.


Some of the early spring veggies harvested at Garnet may end up being served at a winemaker’s dinner down the road at Solvero Wines, celebrating the opening of its tasting room. Limited seats are available for the inaugural dinner, featuring chef Terry Port. Have a sneak peak at the menu for this event on May 25.

Farmers’ markets will soon open, and one of the best lists of markets around the province can be found at B.C. Farmers’ Markets, with more info about local products and what’s on season via Buy BC.


If you’ve ever visited a fall fair, you’ve already participated in agritourism. Agricultural fairs and exhibitions take place year-round across the province. Find a calendar through the B.C. Fairs Association, or better yet, learn about agritourism next month in Penticton at the association’s annual Learning Exchange.

If you’re in the business of tourism, agriculture or both, you’re welcome to attend.

(Disclosure: Allison Markin is a volunteer board member for the B.C. Fairs Association and will be a volunteer speaker at its Learning Exchange being held April 15-16 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.)

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

A creative thinker with more than two decades of experience in communications, Allison is an early adopter of social and digital media, bringing years of work in traditional media to the new frontier of digital engagement marketing through her company, All She Wrote.

She is the winner of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's 2011 and 2012 awards for Social Media Initiative, an International LERN award for marketing, and the 2014 Penticton Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Hospitality/Tourism.

Allison has amassed a following on multiple social networks of more than 30,000, frequently writes and about social media, food and libations as well as travel and events, and through her networks, she led a successful bid to bring the Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton in June 2013, one of the largest social media wine events in the world, generating 31 million social media impressions, $1 million in earned media, and an estimated ongoing economic impact of $2 million.

In 2014, she held the first Canadian Wine Tourism Summit to spark conversation about the potential for wine tourism in Canada as a year-round economic driver.

Allison contributes epicurean content to several publications, has been a judge for several wine and food competitions, and has earned her advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

In her spare time, she has deep, meaningful conversations with her cats.

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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