In the broadest sense of the word, agritourism covers several different topics of travel: education, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation that are centralized around – you guessed it – agriculture.
There are plenty of opportunities for tours where you can get behind the scenes of where your food comes, but here, I’ve linked to more experiential and long-term agritourism websites.
Help Exchange- just like the name says, HelpX is for anyone who can put in an honest 3-5 hours worth of work a day in exchange for accommodations and food.
You can apply to work doing any of the following: Farmstay, Organic Farmstay,Non-Organic Farmstay, Home stay, Backpacker Hostel, Boat, Accommodation, and Other miscellaneous jobs.
How can I take part in this magic? Simple. All you need to do is create an account, and start browsing.
Be sure to read the profiles and reviews in their entirety. Hosts range from people running what is essentially a free-labor sweat shop, to people who simply like having guests around and don’t expect much of any help in return. If you’re unsure, ask your host questions via email until you arrive at an agreement.
Remember that this is meant to be – above all – a cultural exchange that allows you to dig deeper into the culture while gaining an appreciation for daily life in their city.
You can check out this article where Maddy and I stayed in a small French village and repainted shutters (nope, had never done that before!) and got to walk home each night with the neighboring sheep and cows. Baby chicks were just a bonus!
The idea behind WWOOF is that you volunteer on organic (permaculture/sustainable) farms for a certain amount of hours per day in exchange for food, accommodation and learning about the organic way of life. The opportunity to grow, harvest and eat food from your own hands is only a click away.
Even if you have no dreams of homesteading in this life, I highly recommend giving WWOOFing a try. There is something incredibly powerful in the simple act of connecting with our earth on a basic level. It also gives you a great chance to go from farm to fork and learn the early-to-bed-early-to-rise rhythms of rural life.
Coffee lovers can get a taste of the organic coffee-farming process in Guatemala or Costa Rica through Maximo Nivel. You provide support to local farmers, and get involved in every step of coffee production including planting shade trees, coffee picking, roasting, and even packaging the final product. Volunteers might also be involved with reforestation and community activities. Volunteers in Costa Rica are accommodated in the mountains located just 45 minutes North of the Maximo Nivel institute in San Jose. Those in Guatemala are located just a short distance from the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antigua. December-March sees peak harvesting season, though there is work to be done all year round!
Workaway was created with the goal of helping travelers integrate into the society of the country in which they are traveling. In the typical format of a volunteer exchange, Workaway hosts require a certain amount of working hours per day (usually no more than five) and you receive food and accommodation in return.
The rest of your time is yours to explore the local culture and way of life. Workaway listing categories range from Art projects and domestic house helping to English teaching and technical support. There is always someone looking for your expertise.
I love the 17 categories of work to choose from on Workaway. It makes sure that you’re delving into the right area of interests for yourself, consequentially learning and growing in that field. Having said that, don’t be afraid to expand into other arenas- you’ll never learn if you don’t try!