FarmStayPlanet is a hand picked collection of some of the best farmstay vacation providers worldwide, from basic farmhouse accommodation to luxury farm hotels on everything from vineyards and horse ranches to alpaca farms and chill pepper plantations. We are an affiliate of Booking.com, which deals with most of our reservations on a shared commission basis, and we will be using a proportion of our revenue to support two important charities: The One Acre Fund which does great work supporting small farmers in East Africa, and Farm Forward, a lobby group that fights to reduce animal suffering in the agriculture industry, in particular in the practice of factory farming.
The farmstay concept isn’t ours of course, agritourism has been around for years and is these days one of tourism’s fastest growing sectors. Some regions are already well ahead though; in Europe, Austria and Italy particulary, the industry is already very well established, and with government support for farms in terms of tax incentives and grants.
Its popularity is not hard to understand, where once most of our ancestors worked on the land, most of us now live and work in cities. In 1900, around 40% of the workforce in the United States for example was employed in agriculture, one hundred years later, that figure was just under 2%;
So farming is part of almost every family’s heritage, and, as our societies have become more industrialized and sanitized, the call of the land is not just a nostalgia thing, it is also a promise of mental and physical health and well being that our suddenly urbanized, modernized brains sub consciously yearn for.
The trimmings of the industry are already popular with many urbanites; farmers markets, urban vegetable plots, organic food, locally sourced food/less carbon bootprints all over your dinner etc. are now high profile. And rural tourism in a general sense is also already popular, but staying in a hotel in some cute village looking up at the green hillsides isn’t the same as staying on those green hillsides, and walking through the meadows and pastures, the vineyards and the olive groves, surrounded by animals and plants that we only otherwise see through plastic and glass, dissected and polished on the shelves of supermarkets.
And of course it’s all very interesting; what goes on on a farm? How is everything we eat made? And there are lots of little discoveries too; like how apples should never be so shiny that they could be hanging off a Christmas tree, and that neither should they be expected to remain fresh for weeks. That milk from a cow looks and tastes quite a bit different from milk from a carton. Or the fact that supermarkets scandalously spoil a lot of dinner time fun by censoring rude looking vegetables.
Funny looking vegetables or not, rural life isn’t always easy; farming in the vast majority of places can be hard work for very little gain, but to mix it up with taking in guests can mean survival for a lot of farms, and for the rural communities that they support, and in doing so they can see their work and their surroundings admired and appreciated by many people that they might otherwise never have met.
So Agritourism is a means of connecting two sections of society that need each other in different ways, and we at FarmStayPlanet are very happy to encourage and support that connection.