An Impact Model for Experiential Activities of Farming and Food Education in Agricultural Sustainable Tourism
Keywords:Experience economy, Community-based tourism, Anthropocene education, Environmental ethics, authentic tourism, green tourism
This paper examines the development, implementation, and implications of farming and food experiential activities and the effects of these activities on agricultural sustainable tourism. A model is proposed that examines the major correlates and possible impacts related to these variables. A heuristic inquiry research design was adopted, employing a major multiple case study approach. In addition to secondary data, primary data were collected through 18 interviews with farmers, customers, government employees, community leaders, and scholars, and quantitative surveys with 132 tourists and visitors involved in the activities on site.
The focal cases of the Small Bee Project, Pitaya Tour, and three other examples of farming and food education programs are introduced. Results show that farming and food educational experiences provide participants with more awareness of ecological sustainability, food safety, and a sense of sociability, and an appreciation of the linkages between farming and safe food. Farming and food education are still developing and need more promotion, training, and support. More cooperation is desired among both the private and public sectors, as well as the local community. The local farmers could benefit from training to increase knowledge about the latest scientific advances and technology tools, adopt practices that are less harmful to the environment, reduce food contamination, build professional tours for farming and food education, and increase profits.
This study concludes that a comprehensive farming and food education program includes farming experiences, nutrition, food safety, and environmental education about respecting sustainable development. The major correlates of farming and food educational experiences include positive attitudes towards green tourism and potential demands for authentic experiences and educational experiences in food safety. These correlates contribute to the perceived value of experiential activities in farming and food education. Further, possible impacts of these experiential education activities on participants in this type of agricultural sustainable tourism include more awareness of ecological sustainability and food safety.
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