Government Technology

Using Social Media and Mobility to Promote 'Ag Tourism'

May 23, 2013 By

For those who like to pick fresh fruit from the orchards, finding orchards with in-season goodies isn't always easy. But thanks to a soon-to-be-released app in Brentwood, Calif., those looking to pick cherries and other fruits that are in season will get a little easier, according to local media.

The idea behind the app, which was created by Brentwood nonprofit Harvest Time and should be available in the iTunes store next week, is to provide visitors with quick and easy access to information on where "U-pick stands" are located, promoting “agricultural tourism.”

“The app will put the word out that Brentwood has these small, quaint orchards where you can pick,” Harvest Time Vice President Sean McCauley told The Contra Costa Times. “There is no better way than social media to reach people and show them that there is a resource in their backyard where they can spend the weekends.”

This nonprofit isn't the first to venture into plotting an agriculture-related activity. In 2012, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) developed an interactive map for its website to direct residents and visitors to such outdoor attractions as organic farms, maple sugar houses, wineries and farmers markets.

The department needed an effective way to get the word out about such activity, according to Rick LeBlanc, website and ag-tourism coordinator for the Massachusetts DAR. “A lot of people forget about the different diversity of types of agriculture in our small little state,” he said.

As for Brentwood, McCauley noted that this season, Harvest Time printed 10,000 fewer copies of its U-pick maps than last year because of the popularity of smart phones and tablets -- and with the fancy new app, the amount of printed maps is likely to further decrease.

Photo from Shutterstock

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