The following is an extensive list of items to consider when participating in Farm Tour. Please note that not all items will be applicable to your stop. It is meant to help you in the process as you prepare to host visitors and to start planning your farm tours and agritourism activities.
Directions and Parking:
- Is there a well-placed farm sign at the entrance to your farm?
- Is there good visibility/turnaround for visitors to enter/exit safely?
- Is it easy to figure out where to park (i.e. signage, barriers, volunteers)?
- Is there adequate parking free of potholes and mud?
- If it rains, will people get stuck?
- Will you need parking attendees?
- Are walking paths and roads in good condition (relatively smooth, no tripping hazards)?
- Are there signs with instructions/rules/safety information?
- Do you have agritourism liability signs posted?
- Is your farm senior or low mobility friendly?
- Are there places to sit?
- Do you have a bathroom facility open to the public?
- Do you have a designated registration spot/welcome area to greet visitors?
- Is the sign-in table in a flat, shaded spot near the entrance?
- What is your plan in case of rain?
- Is there an activity to engage visitors while they wait for a tour (i.e. product samples, one self-guided aspect of the farm, handouts)?
- Are you considering serving some prepared foods?
- Cooking or serving food for a special event, you need to download the Temporary Food Establishment/Vendor Application and Information Packet from www.loudoun.gov/food at least 10 days in advance of the event. It contains an application for a temporary food permit and instructions for completing the application.
- Do you need to collect sales tax on food or items sold during the event? Please consult these resources to determine your specific situation: Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia Tax
- Have you done pre-tour promotion to invite people to your farm and the farm tour?
- Do you have a sign-up sheet for visitors to give you their information (newsletters, email lists, future events)?
- Do you have products to sell or samples to offer?
- If you have an online shopping cart, are your products and prices up-to-date?
- Are they attractively displayed on-site and online (if you have ecommerce)?
- Are prices visible?
- Do you have materials to distribute about your farm’s history/practices and how to connect with you or find your products after the tour (business card, rack card, handouts, coupons)?
- Have you prepared a short presentation that highlights the main aspects of your farm?
- Can your presentation be tailored to your audience (i.e. children, non-farmers, large groups)?
- Does your tour last thirty minutes (allowing for extra time for rest, travel, and questions) and does it show off your farm’s unique qualities?
- Are there interactive activities on your tour (i.e. tastings, demonstrations, hands-on activities)?
- Do you have a self-guided tour option?
- Do you have a printed map with information about your farm?
Safety and Risk Management:
- Do you have a list of “rules” specific to your farm?
- If so, what is the plan for communicating them to volunteers and visitors?
- Have all possible hazards been removed, flagged, or roped off? (i.e., junk piles, farm equipment, old barns, fuel containers, steep slopes, poison ivy, ponds)
- Does your farm have animals?
- Will visitors interact with them?
- If so, do you have hand or foot washing facilities available to prevent disease transmission?
- Are electric fences marked or turned off during tour hours?
- Is your farm family-friendly and kid safe?
- Do kids need to be tightly supervised or kept out of certain areas?
- Do you have an emergency plan?
- Do farm staff/volunteers have cell phones or radios to communicate during open hours/tours?
- Is all fire and safety equipment in operational condition?
- Are all buildings in safe condition?
- Is public access to barns, paddocks, storage, workshops limited for safe management?
- Do you have a staffing plan?
- Consider the staffing you will need for the different experiences you are offering such as tours, demonstrations, product tables/farm store, kids activity area.
- Will you need volunteers?
- How will you recruit volunteers?
- (Family, neighbors, local schools/universities, community groups?)