But if these gestures still leave your ecowarrior feeling a little unfulfilled, get ready for something bigger: agritourism. Farms, bed and breakfasts, and even four-star resorts offer travelers the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and experience farm life as an integral part of their vacation relaxation experience. Additionally, some hydroponic and aquaponic farms host classes and tours designed to educate travelers about alternative methods of farming. Here are a few we think you’ll like.
Hydro-Taste U-Pick Farm
Myakka City, Florida
The Hydro-Taste Farm, just east of Sarasota and south of Tampa, maintains more than 150,000 hydroponic plants, including strawberries, blueberries, cabbage, and corn. The vast farm holds tours and classes, and you can pick your own crops from suspended plants, without back-breaking bending or kneeling. Or you could buy an armful of strawberry and blueberry plants to bring home, giving you a leg up on your next hydroponics-based harvest.
The plush and verdant Olomana Gardens is a self-proclaimed “permaculture and aquaculture farm” that was conceived as a working farm in a compact residential lot, demonstrating to the local community that a small-scale but sustainable food growing system is obtainable even in the tightest of spots. The gardens include hydroponics, aquaponics, composting, and combining fish-raising and the production of organic vegetables. Overnight accommodations are available for $25 a night. Guests are encouraged to help around the farm and many come to take in-depth alternative gardening classes. They also offer private lessons on the setup and operation of aquaponic/hydroponic systems.
Lucayan Tropical Produce
Lucayan was conceived with the goal of providing food for a community where the soil was too depleted to grow crops. Tours of a hydroponic facility that grows tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce provide the public with an opportunity to learn about the economic and the practical side of technologically advanced farming while integrating the various facets of science that make up the daily operation of the business.
Steel Grass Farms
Chocolate lovers with a hankering to cut their next hit record will want to hit up the eight-acre Steel Grass Farms. Nestled deep below the foothills in Wailua, visitors are provided with comprehensive information on sustainable diversified agriculture in a tropical region with a concentration on cacao along with a full state-of-the-art recording studio. A farm stay at Steel Grass allows you to learn the botany and horticulture of vanilla, timber bamboo, and theobroma cacao, the chocolate tree, while enjoying everything Kauai has to offer. You’ll learn how to harvest and ferment the ripe chocolate fruit, how to ferment the beans, and then turn them into fresh chocolate.
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Thursday, 06 September 2012