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A Farm Vacation

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A Farm Vacation

I just came back from a trip to France with a wish: what if American farmers went into the tourism business?

Imagine comfortable accommodations in quiet, picturesque country settings, where vacationers awaken to the stirring of farm animals, take their children to witness the milking of the goats or cows, receive gardening tips from experts, explore the surrounding hiking trails and, at the end of the day, enjoy the produce–the cooking even–of their hosts. All this, and more, for a significant lower rate than if staying at a hotel or in a regular vacation rental. Farmers would enjoy an extra source of income while exposing the public to their work and lifestyle. Families would be given affordable access to a vacation filled with healthy, possibly life-changing, experiences.

This is precisely what the organization Accueil Paysan has been promoting in France since 1987. From the onset, their aim has been to connect producers and consumers with a clear view to build wide public support for sustainable farming practices.

You read this right : in order to join the Accueil Paysan network, farmers must abide by a strict charter that defines their mission towards the public, including the kind of farming they practise. This charter requires them to uphold the ten principles of Agriculture Paysanne that lie at the root of the Confédération Paysanne, a French farming union co-founded in 1987 by José Bové and affiliated with Via Campesina, a global coalition of over 148 organizations that advocates family-farm-based sustainable agriculture.

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Laetitia Mailhes

Laetitia Mailhes is a French-born journalist. After many years as the technology and innovation correspondent of the French "Financial Times" in San Francisco, she decided to focus on what truly matters to her: sustainable food and farming. Find more articles and videos on her blog, The Green Plate Blog.


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11:29AM PST on Feb 21, 2011

Great program, needs to be started here for sure

7:32AM PST on Jan 18, 2011

I think it's important for people, especially children, to learn the how's and where's of what they eat. I was surprised to learn at a visit to my sons' preschool last year that many kids have no idea what a real carrot looks like or where it comes from! When asked, most of them said 'from a can' or 'the store'! And what fun to be outside, digging the dirt and caring for a plant to fruition! This is an awesome idea!

7:38PM PST on Jan 7, 2011

I had the HONOR of staying with an AMISH Family on their farm one year! I can't tell you the fun, adventure, work and the HISTORY was incredible!!!!

As a teen, I spent my summers on a farm and that was GREAT!!!!! NO TORTUE, NO CRUELTY, Just healthy farm animals and produce.

1:25PM PST on Dec 10, 2010

Hands on practical/educational wholesome fun, all city dwellers should have this experience at least once in their lifetime!

9:04AM PST on Nov 23, 2010

All of you interested in a vacation on a U.S. farm, check out

This new website was brought to my attention by Michelle Nowak--she writes a blog called The Farm Stay Project at Thanks Michelle!

7:40PM PST on Nov 18, 2010


8:53AM PST on Nov 17, 2010


8:51AM PST on Nov 17, 2010

There are a number of family farm/B&Bs in the U.S. My husband and I had the pleasure of staying at one in Marshfield, Vermont a few years ago, Hollister Hill Farm. We started the day with a breakfast made from their own veggies and eggs and then had the option of helping out or observing the various chores. Please note, it's an option, you can just sleep in or go antique shopping if you want! We chose to go for the full farm experience. It was great fun!

5:16PM PST on Nov 16, 2010


11:00AM PST on Nov 12, 2010

This is an old concept. In addition to "dude ranches" in the 1930s fourties fifties and sixties people stayed at "Kukulanes" (a Yiddish term), in the New York State Catskill mountains tourist bungalows on farms where people did there own cooking. This helped some small farmers who otherwise would have to move off the land as agribusiness gradually took priority.

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