Photos submitted by Glen Miracle of Laughing Frog Farm.
Permaculture is a land design philosophy that emphasizes incorporating natural surroundings and processes as well as growing an abundance for both individuals and groups.
The objectives of any permaculture project are to make something out of what looks, to most people, like nothing. Through permaculture, rural tourism providers are able to use the natural resources at their fingertips to build a business that will support them and their community for decades to come.
Any rural tourism effort with a permaculture bend will continue providing for the community even after a business shuts down. It will be like food insurance for your community, creating a spot designed for hands-off growing and public consumption.
In rural areas it will always be difficult to get investment from large companies or the state—let alone federal—government. When rural communities do get funding for projects, there are rules attached that inevitably change the nature of the community and slowly kill the unique aspects of it that made it a tourism destination in the first place.
By combining rural tourism with permaculture projects, communities can take back control of their financial health from distant interest groups, and place success within reach of those who make a rural community what it is.
This type of tourism also encourages the health and well-being of area residents who take on these self-sufficient projects and pass on good food, unique experiences, and economic prosperity to their peers.
Nationwide Examples of Permaculture Tourism
Rural areas across the country are benefiting from a reorientation of their economics from agriculture and manufacturing to tourism. The Finding Country team talked with three permaculture tourism businesses in various regions of the country: Tennessee, Texas, and California.
We wanted to get an idea of how this hybrid of rural tourism and permaculture - what we conclude is “permatourism” - plays out in different parts of the country where knowledge of sustainable agriculture practices and the acceptance of tourism as an economic factor varies.
Overnight stays range from a weekend to a couple of months at a time. A construction worker drove from Summertown to Spring Hill, Tennessee every day for two months because he enjoyed the ambience of Kathleen’s facility so much.
The main “product” Kathleen is selling isn’t necessarily commercial. Many companies say they're selling peace of mind; Kathleen is actually creating it and inviting others to experience it.
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