We have a diverse workforce here at the NCDA&CS that focuses on consumer protection, food safety, agricultural marketing, accuracy of weights and measures, plant conservation, livestock protection…and more. Through our Faces in the Field series, we’ll talk to one of our employees and provide a behind-the-scenes look at what they do to serve North Carolina.
Martha Glass has worked with the department for more than a decade. Since 2003, she has been the manager of the NCDA&CS Agritourism Office. In the video above, Glass explains about the importance of agritourism and shares more about her responsibilities and the opportunities available for N.C. farmers.
There are more than 600 agritourism farms across the state with activities ranging from pick-your-own strawberries and pumpkin patches to wedding venues and wineries. Glass is responsible for helping farmers start and market agritourism activities on their farms.
Glass also manages the N.C. Agritourism Networking Association. The group hosts networking opportunities, workshops and conferences for local agritourism and rural tourism operations.
The association will hold its annual meeting in Carolina Beach Feb. 21-22. The conference will focus on how agritourism farms can partner with local agencies to strengthen rural economies in North Carolina. In addition, the two-day event will feature workshops, a trade show and tours of several coastal agritourism farms.
The association also hosts four mini-conferences throughout the year. The next one will be Thursday, Jan. 17, in Williamston, followed by events in Rockingham County Feb. 28, Stanly County March 14 and Henderson County March 28.
In addition to helping local farms, Glass is also involved on the national stage through the North American Farmer’s Direct Marketing Association. The association is made up of 800 farmers from the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom involved in agritourism activities or direct marketing on their farms. She was recently elected secretary of the association’s executive board.
If you’d like to learn more about the upcoming conferences, contact the Agritourism Office. Glass also can answer your questions about starting or improving your agritourism activities. To find an agritourism farm near you, go to www.VisitNCFarms.com.