The agricultural and agri-food industry has a prevalent, long-standing history as a successful cornerstone industry in Ontario. This historical prevalence stands true for the central rural township of Brock, Ontario as agriculture and livestock are a driving force in the township’s economy. However, throughout the last three decades, agricultural production in Ontario’s rural townships have been negatively impacted by vertical integration, globalization, and the intensification of land-based activities (Wicks & Merrett, 2003). Therefore, the aim of this research study is to determine if agritourism is a viable solution that will aid in revitalizing the rural township of Brock, Ontario. This research is imperative for farm operators in rural Ontario because small family farms are seeking ways to remain economically competitive against the pressures of urbanization and changing global markets.

The objectives of this research study necessitate in-depth information-gathering, gained from direct in-situ engagement with individuals who are members of the Beaverton Agricultural Society, the Sunderland Agricultural Society, or the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). This makes on site semi-structured interviews an appropriate data collection method. The study will specifically focus on the township of Brock where it will draw upon objective details from farmers who have diversified their farming practices through the use of agritourism. This research will provide information about why farmers decided to diversify their farms through agritourism, how agritourism has helped farming businesses (if at all), and what strategies farmers used to implement agritourism into their traditional farming practices. The findings of this research study will be utilized by farm operators that have integrated agritourism practices into their traditional farming practices and for government programs and policies to support farm operators.

Check back for further updates on this research initiative as it develops or contact Sarah at parishs@uoguelph.ca