Town Of Essex Launches New Farm Focused Tourism Strategy

Sunday June 20th, 2021

Posted at 3:38pm

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The Town of Essex is moving forward with the implementation of its new Agritourism Development Strategy adopted by Council at their April 19, 2021 meeting.

The new strategy identifies opportunities for growth in the local agritourism sector and provides a roadmap for how the Town of Essex can support farmers to increase visitation and diversify their businesses.

“The roots of agriculture run deep in the Town of Essex and we’re home to prime farm land, award winning wineries, and the long-running Harrow Fair. It is clear that farmers don’t just play a vital role in our economy, they are also ingrained in our community’s culture,” said Mayor Larry Snively. “This Strategy will help our farmers diversify their businesses and make Essex one of the top destinations for visitors who are looking for a taste of agricultural life and the farming experience.”

To develop and implement the Strategy, the Town is working with the Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA), a not-for-profit group which works with communities to grow food tourism by leveraging the history, heritage, and culture behind the food and drink that makes each destination unique.

“In recent years, we’ve seen a surge in demand for hands-on, experiential tourism. At the same time, the pandemic has prompted new interest in exploring closer to home and highlighted the importance of knowing where our food comes from,” said Caroline Morrow, CTA’s Senior Destination Development Officer. “With its rural landscapes, wineries, farms, lakefront views, and engaged industry, the Town of Essex is in an ideal place to leverage this opportunity.”

As part of the implementation of the Strategy, the Town has invited local farmers, as well as agricultural and agritourism business owners to participate in an online survey to help learn about their perspective on, current involvement in, and plans to develop agritourism.

The questionnaire will help inform the direct supports offered to businesses for growing agritourism, which include two virtual workshops focussed on agritourism needs and opportunities, followed by a dedicated support program for one-on-one assistance for a number of businesses.

If you own or operate a farm or agricultural business in the Town of Essex and would like to participate in the process, please contact [email protected] or call 519-776-7336 ext 1135. Individuals who participated in the initial stakeholder survey and industry forum have been contacted directly.

The full Strategy can be found online at www.essex.ca/Agritourism.

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