Tulip Town strawberries

Ella Simpson, 14, Andrew Simpson, 3, and Ethan Simpson, 16, of La Conner take part in July 2020 in the U-pick strawberry harvest at Tulip Town west of Mount Vernon.

What is agritourism? How would it work in Skagit County? What are the benefits and drawbacks?

Skagit County is seeking community feedback for its agritourism study. The county Board of Commissioners approved the study in fall 2018 to examine the potential impacts of agritourism.

The county has launched a webpage, skagitcounty.net/SkagitAGT, with information on the study and a 15-question survey.

The study will help Skagit County Planning and Development Services make policy recommendations to address agritourism, including proposed amendments to the county’s comprehensive plan, land use map and development code.

The study, which is expected to take 12 to 18 months, is in its beginning stages. The county is identifying stakeholders, and developing a public participation and outreach plan.

According to a definition from the University of California Davis and cited by the county, agritourism is “a commercial enterprise at a working farm, ranch, or agricultural plant conducted for the enjoyment of visitors that generates supplemental income for the owner.”

The study will look at all forms of agritourism including outdoor recreation, educational experiences, entertainment, hospitality services, and on-farm direct sales, such as U-pick operations and roadsides stands.

The study will examine the impact of agritourism on Skagit County’s economy and how activities fit in with rural communities and keeping farmlands in production.

“The study is anticipated to address the current situation with farmstands and value added activities, agricultural recreation, and options for other types of agritourism such as potential food service on farms, wedding venues, temporary event spaces, etc.,” states a county document.

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH

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