||Fields of Gold > The Role of the CSPDC
Our Vision | Fields of Gold Themes
| The Role of the CSPDC
The CSPDC recognizes that agritourism and economic development are not mutually exclusive of one another. In 2007, over $765 million dollars of commodities were sold in this Region; therefore, economic development strategies must account for agriculture activities.
Why the CSPDC is a key leader in the development of a regional agritourism program:
- As single agency, represents and serves 21 localities in the Central Shenandoah Region.
- Coordinates with local and regional entities.
- Has an established regional economic development program and manages the Region’s comprehensive economic development strategy.
- Has the staff resources and the capacity to carry out the proposed project in an efficient manner.
- Experienced in seeking, securing, and administering state and federal grants.
- Has established relationships with federal and state funding agencies like the Appalachian Regional Commission, United States Department of Agriculture/Rural Development, Department of Housing and Community Development, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Tourism Corporation, and Economic Development Administration.
- Successful in the development and implementation of other regional plans and programs.
- Coordinates projects of regional significance.
- Serves as a liaison between local governments and state and/or federal agencies.
- Collects and maintains demographic, economic, and related data for the Region and its member governments.
Anticipated Program Outcomes
The following anticipated outcomes build on the strengths of the Central Shenandoah Region and are designed to achieve the vision of promoting the Region as an agritourism destination:
- Develop a strategic plan for agritourism development in the Region.
- Inventory agritourism assets.
- Increase the Region’s draw of agritourists while preserving farming values.
- Develop a coordinated marketing strategy for agritourism activities in the Region.
- Conduct educational outreach to public officials, the general public and agricultural entrepreneurs to promote the benefits of agritourism.
- Establish a consortium of agritourism partners.
How is this different from other Agritourism efforts in the Region?
Unlike other programs in this Region, the proposed program would not focus on cost sharing projects for farmers or attracting industrial agribusiness to the area. Instead, this program focuses on enhancing the promotion and marketing of agritourism activities. The Fields of Gold program provides the mechanism for bringing partners together and the direction for implementing a coordinated and well-designed marketing strategy for the Region. By working together, the Region can create a destination with greater drawing power that benefits farming as well as other tourism related activities.
The following steps are necessary in order for the development of the Fields of Gold program to move forward:
- Coordinate with the Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP) to solidify direction of program.
- Identify key stakeholders.
- Present proposal to localities and entities that have an interest in agritourism.
- Create and coordinate a steering/organizational committee.
- Seek and secure a dedicated funding stream.
- Develop an agritourism plan for the Region.