Monday, January 28, 2013

Dog Mountain Farm

For spring quarter 2012 I chose to yet again step outside the easy boundaries of my project and look further than alternative learning environments and food.  I chose to take a class on Tourism as Global Culture and chose to focus my work in this class on the rapidly rising agritourist form of literally consuming the tourist experience.

I began searching for an agritourist site in the Seattle area and discovered Dog Mountain Farm.  I sent an e-mail to Cindy Krepky explaining my project and asking for an opportunity to visit the farm and experience the space as an agritourist destination.  From the very beginning, David and Cindy, were wonderfully receptive to having my husband and I out to visit and experience all that Dog Mountain Farm had to offer.

Each stage of my project had a small step to accomplish and we were asked to engage with our chosen site in many different ways.  One of the things I appreciated about having chosen an agritourist destination is that I was able to truly experience the site by working on the land and helping David out while Cindy was away.  This allowed me to move beyond the agritourist experience I shared with my husband at Dog Mountain Farm and look at the inner workings of the farm and step into the 'backstage space' of the land.

I want to share several of the pieces I wrote for this project with you to provide a brief overview of some of the ways I engaged with this project and Dog Mountain Farm.

If I were to return to this project, I would look more critically at the ways agritourism is used by tourists as a way to, literally, consume the land, the food and the experience of an agritourist destination.  I would also look more critically at how agritourism feeds (no pun intended!) into the tourist ideal and while offering the opportunity to 'return to the land' there is a definite disconnect, for the tourist once they leave the agritourist space and return to their apartment in the city.  This is through no fault of the agritourist site, but rather, I believe, with the view our culture has of tourism in general.  We seek the new, the exotic and return to our places of residence to further savor and relish the experience by sharing photos, blog posts and speaking to others of our adventure.  I am not saying this is erroneous, however, as with every tourist experience we must recognize the ways in which we interact with the environment we are touring.  Perhaps asking the questions:

  1. Who is allowed to tour?  Who is excluded from touring?
  2. What are the affects of my touring on a particular site or people?
  3. Do I leave the space toured bettered for having toured it?
There is a definite need to look more critically at the tourist experience, whether seeking a luxury tourist experience or rather a return to the land.

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