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Program Post: The Making of our 2013 Farm Tour!

Enjoying the Farm Tour

Each Thursday, ASAP’s programs take you behind the scenes of their work. This week, our Local Food Campaign shares their recipe for making a fun-filled Farm Tour!

From ASAP’s Local Food Campaign

Greetings from Robin Lenner, ASAP’s Local Food Campaign program coordinator, here to share with you what it takes to create our biggest event of the year: our Farm Tour! This year, the tour features 31 diverse farms across WNC, and we hope you’ll join us (click to purchase a pass + get all the details). Now, onto the “top-secret” recipe…

Step 1: Begin planning right away. As soon as a tour finishes, we start planning the next year’s event. First, we set the date. Then, we start getting the word out via our year-round promotions, like our Get Local calendar.
Step 2: Recruit farms. In the spring, we begin recruiting and visiting prospective farms for the tour. What’s the criteria for participating? ASAP staff considers factors like location, offerings, and accessibility when selecting farms. Interested in being on the tour in 2014? Contact us!
Step 3: Spread the word. Once farms are selected, ASAP’s communications team kicks into high gear. They spread the word via advertising, e-newsletters, and our website, as well as create the Farm Tour Guide, which provides you with details on participating farms, tips for taking the tour, and info about fun activities like the Farm Tour Photo Contest. This year, we printed 13,000 guides! Pick up your copy at one of these vendors, or download online.
Step 4: Help participating farms get ready. Our Local Food Campaign team is responsible for helping farms get ready for the tour. We do that by providing an orientation for both new and returning farms to review tour guidelines and offer a space to exchange ideas. Our farmers agree that the training provides a great opportunity to pick up some extra tips and network with other farm participants (as well as enjoy a delicious locally sourced meal).
Step 5: Find volunteers. During this step, I’m busy recruiting volunteers to staff registration and informational tables for each farm on the tour. The Farm Tour wouldn’t be possible without the amazing help of volunteers who staff all 31 farms both days of the Tour. Interested in volunteering and attending this year’s tour for free? Sign up today!
Step 6: Secure sponsors. Last, but certainly not least, our tour wouldn’t be possible without the generous support from our event sponsors. 2013 sponsors include: Carolina Farm Credit, Greenlife Grocery, ImageSmith Communications, The Laurel of Asheville, Sunny Point Café, WNC Magazine, WNC Woman, and West End Bakery. On Thursday, September 19 from 6-9 pm, sponsor Sunny Point Café will host a Spade to Spoon Social, ASAP’s first-ever Farm Tour kickoff party. Enjoy local food and beverages and meet with ASAP staff members to get even more of the inside scoop about the Farm Tour before you head out.

Phew! It’s not the quickest recipe, but one that’s well worth making. To learn more about the tour, view a complete list of participating farms, and to purchase admission to the tour and kickoff party, visit asapconnections.org. See YOU out touring soon…

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