Agritourism, what is it?
Seeing how grapes grow, where sheep are grazed and how real cheese is made – for many city dwellers all this is real exotic. It is not surprising that every year more and more people are interested in agritourism. Residents of megacities leave to live on the farm, where they are learning to care for horses and ostriches, to understand forest mushrooms, milk cows and harvest olives, make sour cream and house wine on their own. The advantages of this occupation are quite appreciable: a change of scenery, fresh air, new skills, and, importantly, everything can be arranged even for free.
Long-term agro-tours are a rare story. As a rule, the majority of tourists are limited to vacation or weekend tours. There are many offers on the tourism-market, both in Russia and abroad. They are all very different in the program, as well as the level of comfort and, accordingly, the price. You can rent a villa in Tuscany and work in local vineyards, or you can live in a village house for a nominal fee or even free of charge in exchange for household help. Very often, under such conditions, the employee relies on meals at the master’s table and even a certain amount of pocket money.
To tell the truth, in this case you will have more work, but you can easily choose an activity to your liking, and the working day lasts no more than 4-6 hours. The rest of the time can be devoted to a rest, walking and excursions to new places.
Where can you go?
Rural tourism is common in the USA, Canada, Australia, Spain, Italy, France, and is also gaining popularity in Russia.
In the US, students regularly leave for farms to earn extra money during the summer holidays. Especially there are a lot of farms in Colorado, Texas and Arizona – there extra workers are always taken for the work with pleasure. The conditions are very spartan: a room for one or two, meals with the owners of the house and a small cash reward. For more demanding tourists there are whole ranches. For example, Black Mountain in Colorado, where you will have to not only take care of livestock, but also learn how to ride, manage a lasso, and also the program contains rafting on chasing rivers, fishing, rodeo and other cowboy entertainment. A week of this vacation will cost an average of 2000 USD.
In Italy, tourists will be offered to work in the vineyards – to collect and process grapes, as well as to participate in the collection of olives. Living conditions are also different: from luxurious villas to simple village houses. Approximately the same story in Spain and in France. Old mills, cheese factories, wineries, wineries, etc. are regularly restored to attract tourists to the farms.
What are you to do there?
As a rule, tourists are offered jobs that do not require special skills and do not constitute a threat to their health. You will harvest, fish, feed and care for animals, participate in process of making wine, cheese, butter, honey and other products. If you wish, you can feed and shear sheep – everyone can get work in the farm.
The contract will necessarily indicate the duration of the working day. As a rule, it does not happen longer than 6 hours, and this is on condition that you do not pay for lodging and meals. If you pay rent, then most likely, you will need to work only 4 hours or less.
Where can you apply?
Agritourism has become quite a popular form of recreation in recent years, so this trend was picked up by travel agencies and began to organize tours to farms. Firms provide visa support, organize leisure and accommodate you in any conditions, up to a private villa, but suck kind of vacation is no longer called adventure.
In the world there are many organizations that are committed to sending tired citizens to work in the fresh air, and working hands are found to thankful farmers.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (website) is the most popular organization in the field of voluntary agro-tourism. Go to the site, fill out a form, pay a fee in the amount of 40-55 USD and you are entered into the database and provide several farms, where you are ready to take. It remains only to choose the most suitable farm, to arrange with the owner on the terms and conditions, and hit the road. Usually you don’t need to pay more for anything – a farmer will provide you with a roof over your head and, of course, food. WWOOF works in 53 countries, it is always impossible to find nothing interesting.
It is also a worldwide organization, the scheme of participation is the same as in WWOOF, but unlike it, here you can work not only in farms, but also in schools, orphanages, churches and other organizations that need the help of additional workers. It is also a Web site.
Kibbutz is an agricultural commune in Israel. There is always a lot of work here, and there is a catastrophic lack of hands. Constantly need to harvest, milk the cows, care for the cattle and so on. Visitors can sometimes get the most “dirty” work, like washing dishes, but this is quite possible to agree.
Russia also has its own organization of recreation (and labor) on farms. At the moment, most of the proposals are houses for rent in different parts of the country, but among them there are people who offer to live on a real farm and teach them to milk the goats or to care for the bees.