Agritainment? What is it?
The term agritainment is not new to us at Destinations Travel Magazine nor is it new to our readers. We have been featuring it for well over a year. Simply put, it is agritourism. According to Wikipedia, Agritourism or agrotourism, as it is defined, most broadly involves any agriculturally-based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch.
And, according to UC Davis, University of California researchers define agricultural tourism (agritourism) as any income-generating activity conducted on a working farm or ranch for the enjoyment and education of visitors. It includes the interpretation of the natural, cultural, historic, and environmental assets of the land and the people working on it.
Whatever you prefer calling it, agritourism is trending and continues to grow in popularity as alternative travel for families, groups and individual travelers.
And it is no wonder. As of 2012, 33,000 farms integrated agritourism and recreational services such as farm or winery tours, hayrides, hunting, and fishing into their operations. On-farm agritourism activities represent $704 million in direct tourism revenues for US farms, and likely more significant benefits for their surrounding communities and their tourism support businesses.
Because of its popularity, our Destinations Travel Magazine team is always looking for something new in agritainment – especially if it is a hidden gem.
We discovered one a while back, and have even featured it in the past, but with it being the height of family vacation season, we thought it worth a revisit. It’s True Garden – the premier vertical aeroponic food farm in the Southwest U.S. and the first-of-its-kind facility, operated by solar power.
There are many things that are unique about True Garden, first of which being its vision. Because the facility is located in the desert – one that has a considerable amount of drought in recent years- it was designed to drastically reduce the region’s agricultural water consumption while making local, living produce available year-round in the hot desert regions of Phoenix and the Southwest. It produces cool season food crops year-round even in the scorching desert, where temperatures reach 120 degrees during the day and 90 degrees at night during peak months.
True Garden’s greenhouse uses very little energy in the winter months by operating in a naturally vented mode. During the hotter summer months, the greenhouse utilizes a combination of smart and efficient technologies to affordably keep the greenhouse at optimal temperatures, both during the day and night. True Garden uses 95% less water, 90% less space, and no harmful chemical, pesticides or herbicides like Roundup.
What makes True Garden an excellent agritainment destination is it not only IS an actually working facility, providing food for local retailers, restaurants, farmer’s markets and more but it is dedicated to educating the public and empowering homeowners to grow the same way in their own back yard. They offer tours of the facility, provide guests with an up-close look at the difference in aeroponic ‘living produce,’ feature scheduled events throughout the year and even offer classes.
Here’s a virtual tour via the owner of True Garden, Troy Albright …