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Hosting Memorable On-Farm Events

July 7, 2023

From concerts, to markets, to farm-to-table dinners, hosting events on your farm can be a rewarding experience. However, before you embark on this endeavor, there are several important factors to consider. From logistical aspects to regulatory requirements, this guide will walk you through the key considerations for successfully hosting events on your farm. 

  1. Assess Your Readiness: Opening your farm to the community requires careful thought and preparation. Ask yourself if you are truly ready to take on this responsibility. Consider the following: 

    • Are you prepared to welcome visitors and ensure their safety and enjoyment? 

    • Do you have a dedicated person who can manage and coordinate the event effectively? 

    • Do you have the capacity to navigate the necessary regulatory processes? 

    • Are you equipped to market your events effectively and turn a profit? 

    • Will hosting events on your farm be financially viable and worth the effort? 

  2. Streamline Event Flow: To create a seamless and enjoyable experience for attendees, it's crucial to plan the event flow carefully. Here are some key aspects to consider: 

    • First, establish good relations with your neighbors and gain their support to avoid potential complaints that could affect your farm's reputation. Bring your neighbors into the fun by inviting them to volunteer or giving them free tickets.

    • Designate a dedicated event flow manager who can oversee the organization and logistics of each event. 

    • Consider incorporating live music and have an “event host” with a microphone to create a welcoming atmosphere and greet attendees. 

    • Utilize signage strategically to set expectations and guide visitors to different areas of interest. 

    • Ensure there are clear, obvious spaces and pathways for people to navigate comfortably. 

    • Arrange for adequate restroom facilities, such as portable toilets, and provide handwashing stations. 

    • Set up trash, recycling, and composting stations throughout the venue. 

  3. Food Preparation and Safety: If you plan to offer food at your events, it's essential to adhere to proper regulations and maintain a high standard of food safety. Follow these tips:

    • Apply for the necessary permits from the Vermont Health Department to legally prepare and sell food. Use the Agritourism Regulatory Guide to help determine which permits you will need for your event.

    • Consider having staff members attend ServSafe Training to ensure they have the necessary knowledge and skills in food safety. 

    • If your farm lacks on-site facilities for food preparation, explore options for renting a commercial kitchen or partnering with a licensed caterer. 

  4. Managing Liability: Hosting events on your farm comes with certain risks and liabilities, so it's crucial to protect yourself and your guests. Take the following precautions: 

    • Prominently display your Act 31 sign at the entrance of your event to inform visitors about inherent risks associated with being on a farm. 

    • Have attendees sign waivers acknowledging their understanding of the risks and agreeing to release you from liability. This waiver should also include the specific Act 31 language. 

    • Contact your insurance company to discuss your plans and ensure that you have appropriate coverage for events on your farm. 

  5. Compliance with Regulations: Confirm with your town if you are allowed to host on-farm events and familiarize yourself with any specific zoning laws and how they apply to agricultural businesses. 

Hosting events on your Vermont farm can be a fulfilling experience, allowing you to share the beauty of your land with the community, expose new customers to your farm/products, generate additional revenue, collaborate with like-minded businesses, and more. By carefully considering the factors mentioned above, such as readiness, event flow, food safety, liability management, and regulatory compliance, you can create memorable and successful events. Remember to plan meticulously, engage with your community, and prioritize the safety and enjoyment of your guests. Good luck! 


Thanks for reading the Marketing and Agritourism Blog! I’m your host, Kristen Brassard, Marketing & Agritourism Specialist at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets. Stay tuned every other week for tips on marketing and incorporating agritourism practices on your farm and be sure to sign up for our Agriculture Development Newsletter so you never miss a post!