Adventures in Agritourism

agritourism: “any agriculturally-based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch” (wikipedia)

The family spent yesterday afternoon–a warm, breezy summer day–at Tillers International. The initial draw of Tillers International is that they raise a heritage breed of cattle: the Milking Shorthorn (see the picture, above). We left, as you might suspect, with a box-full of samples of Shorthorn beef: tenderloin, rib steaks, and a roast. As their name suggests, however, raising heritage beef is but a part of what this non-profit organization is about.

Just as eating heritage meats conserves rare breeds of livestock, supporting Tillers International conserves rare knowledge of agriculture and things artisanal: metal-working, woodworking, cheese-making, and–once upon a time–butchery. The mission of the organization is educational in nature: their knowledge-base allows rural communities in the developing world (and the industrial world, for that matter) to become self-sustaining using traditional techniques that are not capital-intensive. It’s become a cliche: “You can give a man a fish and feed him for a day, or you can teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” Tillers teaches men not to fish but to farm and the requisite skill base associated with agrarian life (wood-working and metal-working, for example).

I’ll step aside to allow Tillers International to tell its own story. And, if what you see peaks your interest,  take a day trip to the farm: go on a tour, browse their bookstore, or enroll in a wood-working or metal-working class. Become, in other words, an agritourist! We, as dutiful tourists, took pictures of our excursion. To view them, please click here.

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