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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Farm Tours

Eugene and a group of students from IU east

We have now given three private farm tours this month after not having had a farm tour out here in well over a year. Seems what we do has become interesting to the public so we are getting more and more requests for private farm tours. For years we have done these tours free of charge even though they are a bit of work and we have freely given out knowledge that we had to work a lot of years to amass. No more, we now charge $25 a head for a 2+ hour private tour where we show and explain to folks how we farm and allow them to ask as many questions as they want. For years we have felt a bit strange about charging for this service and as long as we did not have to do this more than a couple of times a year it seemed no biggie to give away what we know for free. But after getting many requests already for winter farm tours (and I am suspecting as the weather gets warmer, the farm greener and us much much busier we will have many many more requests for private tours) we realized it is insane to give away this valuable knowledge (not to mention the time involved), that we have worked very hard to obtain, when we should be making income from it. If a PhD makes income from teaching, so should we (after all, the learning curve for this occupation is that of getting a doctorate, only without having to defend a dissertation or dealing with university politics). And thus Boulder Belt has entered the realm of Agro-Tourism (I think this really should be considered Agro-Education but I guess tourism is often educational)

The IU East Students in the strawberry hoop house (which regular readers will note is back up after the big snow) Eugene is explaining to them how we grow spring mix over winter

This particular farm tour was for 4 students from IU East in Richmond, IN. They needed to visit a sustainable business for an anthropology class about food and they choose us. They came out in the early afternoon and we walked around the market garden in a cold biting NE wind and talked about what we do. Eventually we took the tour group into the strawberry hoop house where there was no wind and it was rather pleasant and talked about season extension and how that effects our bottom line. We than toured the store where we talked about the business side of things as well as small vs industrial agriculture and what the future holds for us. We finished up in the barn where we start our seedlings and showed them that part of the operation. It was a good tour and I believe the students got quite a bit out of it.

Correct me if I am wrong guys


Anonymous said...

I'm an educator at a private liberal arts college in Maine. Kudos for you for offering such a tour, and no shame in my opinion for charging for it. If the students are intellectually curious, they will learn a great deal from such a tour. Even better would be if they spent a week working, but that's another thing altogether.

I hopped over here from Seasons Eatings farm blog, btw.


Anonymous said...

ps, nice blog, I can see I'll learn a lot from this!