The Reception in the Colony is an association of small farmers into the development of agritourism. By all means, small farmers have been rendering in their properties, lodging activities, nutrition, product sales and leisure. This activity triggers the generation of employment and the income in rural areas, mainly for women, contributing to their autonomy.


Just in 2014 the Reception in the Colony received approximately 5.000 visitors, assisting to rescue the stamina of those involved and to improve environmental conditions on farms, promoting the adoption of agroecology in side associated properties.

 

 

A - General Information 

 

START: June 1999 (in pŕogress)

EXECUTING ENTITY: Agritourism Association Reception in the Colony

PARTNERSHIP: Ministry of Agriculture and Development – MDA; Ministry of Tourism – Ministry of Tourism; Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Sports of Santa Catarina; Santa Catarina Tourism Inc. – Santur; Ashoka Brazil; Inter-American Foundation – IAF, Diacomina Foundation; TAM; Social & Environmental Bovespa; University of Vale do Itajaí - UNIVALI; Federal University of Santa Catarina – UFSC; Ecological Farmers Association from the Slopes of Sierra Geral – AGRECO; Training Centre in Agroecology from Serra Geral of Santa Catarina – CEFAE; Center for Studies and Promotion of Group Agriculture - CEPAGRO

PRESENTED BYThaise Costa Guzatti

RESOURCES: Owned and from third parties. 

VALUE RANGE: Above U$25.000. 

CATEGORY: Reference Unit.  

MAIN SUBJECT AREA: Social Productive Inclusion. 

KEY-WORDS: Rural Development; Family Farming; Agritourism. 

TARGET PUBLIC: Groups of family farmers and rural producers association employed in the organic production chain. 

LOCATION: Rural Area

GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE: Santa Catarina State wise

SPECIFIC AREA OF IMPLEMENTATION: Santa Catarina Municipalities: Rancho Queimado, Anitápolis, Santa Rosa de Lima, Rio Fortuna, Gravatal, Grão Pará, Urubici, São Joaquim, Leoberto Leal, Imbuia, Ituporanga, Aurora, Vidal Ramos, Presidente Nereu, Witmarsun, Apiúna, Rio do Sul, Agrolândia, Agronômica, Imbituba, Atalanta, Vitor Meireles, Ibirama and Presidente Getulio.

 

 

B - Practice Description

 

1- BACKGROUND

The experience came in the territory of the slopes of Sierra Geral of Santa Catarina, in the 90s, suffered from the crisis of family farming focused on tobacco cultivation and burning of Atlantic forest for charcoal purposes so far. Impoverishment escalated to the rural exodus. The aside casting was increasingly seriously by women, because of the hard work in the fields and invisibility, labeled solely as husband assistants. The change towards the direction of the “development” of the territory begins with a pact for organic food production and creation of the Association of Ecological Farmers of the slopes of the Sierra Geral – AGRECO, established by a group of farmers with a supermarket in Florianópolis, a native of one of the municipalities of the territory and engaged in finding solutions to their homeland. Once having secured the sales channel and escalating sustainable production, other farmers quickly joined to the endeavor and the process began to improve. The initiative has attracted the attention of farmers and technicians from various locations of the state and the country. As municipalities were small, mainly rural, farmers were not able, for the most part of it, to cope with a demanding service capacity, without hotel and restaurants amenities. Upon this context, farmers began receiving visitors in their own properties, soon to be a new income opportunity.

In parallel, the Agronomy student at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Thaise Guzzatti, arrived from France, after the conclusion of a stage on venue thematic rural tourism. Sought in support of the Study Center and Promotion of Group Agriculture – CEPAGRO, a location to develop a pilot project taking as inspiration the experiences she had met during her internship. In 1997, CEPAGRO and AGRECO signed a partnership to develop agritourism in the municipalities in the field.

 

2- GENERAL OBJECTIVE 

The Reception in the Colony is focused on promoting, through agritourism, the integration between people and organizations from rural and city areas, inciting the exchange of experiences, appreciating the culture and ways of life, establishing fair trade relations and preserving the environment. The organization has established with perspective to be recognized by society as a promoting organization towards sustainable rural development through agritourism and to contribute with their work to remain worthy to farmers and family farmers in the field.

Specific Targets:

Contribute to improving the quality of life of family farmers, the organization of agritourism activities as a complementary source of income;

To value the activities of farmers, offering alternatives to remain in rural areas, rescuing their history and their culture and strengthen a productive practice within the principles of agroecology, protection and restoration of the natural environment;

Organize, in partnership, the development of agritourism products based on local and regional circuits;

Rescue the cultural identity of family farmers, in the meantime of a strong ingredient of citizenship, providing them a favorable atmosphere for showcasing their culture values ​​to society in general. 

 

3 - ADOPTED SOLUTION

Farmers in AGRECO were asked to host a pilot project to mold the French experience, considering that already had expressed in its strategic planning from 1997 to the need to promote agritourism. The CEPAGRO project sent to the Ministry of Agriculture, proposing a methodology for development of agritourism in rural municipalities. The execution of the project, according to the proposal CEPAGRO, would constitute a step by step, with the end result the implementation of a regional agritourism circuit on the slopes of the Serra Geral, involving five municipalities and thirty rural properties.

After some updates, it was developed and implemented the methodology, consisting in seven steps, as follows:

1) Mobilization: the municipality must meet the largest number of family farmers for the sake of clarification purposes in regard to lectures and awareness about the activity. At these events, local agriculture related technical area to be guided to perform invitation addressed to farmers considered as a greater potential for its activity. After the lectures, those who submit interest are invited to meet on site in locations with similar experiences. Then, to decide on the participation in the project;

2) Participative diagnosis / definition of individual projects: the municipal group composed by farmers, are able to meet on a weekly basis in each property (rotation), to assess pros and cons of each property for the tourism, with the mediation of a professional technician. After performing this “diagnosis”, each family sets your interest / individual project, taking into account the assessment made by all (lodging, food, product sales, etc.);

3) Associations: timetable setting: the properties are plotted on a map and collectively the group assesses whether there is the possibility, with the existing properties and their individual projects, a format of a municipal script. At this time farmers are supposed to be acquainted to each other a little better and are more integrated to discuss more collaborative ways of driving work, including the formation of an association and agreement of minimum standards.

4) Training: established products and services to be offered in a range of training activities of producers soon to become developed. It renders the format of field-days; technical visits; short courses, seminars and placements.

5) Investments: projects are designed to fit the existing structures in the properties for the deployment of services required by families. Having the project, farmers seek funding via the most usual access to PRONAF – National Program to Strengthen Family Agriculture.

6) Certification: after implementation of services, farmers apply for the use of Reception in the Colony trademark. A committee of farmers and technicians from other locations visit the properties and checks whether they comply with the minimum standards established by the Reception in the Colony standards (there is a document called notebook standards for submission rules and conditions for each type of service). If the evaluation is positive the property is entitled to use the trademark.

7) Marketing: After accreditation of the property, it becomes part of the reception site, the main marketing strategy and dissemination of the entity. 

Every three years a State Seminar Reception in the Colony is held. This is an internal moment seeking to bring together all members, providing a meeting place for exchanging experiences and strengthening the association as a group. During the seminar, best practices are identified and disseminated among the members. They are invited to present their experiences as successful cases within the Reception basis towards the idea of ​​serving as an inspiration, as well as the main problems and challenges to be overcome.

 

4 - ACHIEVED RESULTS

As a result, the highlights:

  • More than 100 properties associated with the Reception in the Colony Network activity, distributed in over twenty municipalities;
  • Approximately 5.000 people visited the Association only in the year of 2014;
  • Increase the income of families with income varying according to each member property. Still, many properties currently have the tourism as the main source of income;
  • Fostering the transition to organic agriculture and environmental preservation in the range of associated properties;
  • Contribution to improving the quality of life of rural families and urban families, with significant improvement in the self-esteem of farmers, particularly rural women;
  • Reduction in rural exodus and encouragement to family succession, from the recovery of young farmers and inclusion of them in activities related to agritourism. Many families associated with the Reception, based on the value of work and aggregation of agritourism, made the property attractive to children, who remained in the country or in some cases, returned from urban centers to assist parents in developing the activities;
  • Break the isolation of farmers associated. Once before the fate of communities was to be emptied and abandoned, with the tourism it gains a new momentum – where the reverse flow contributes to the properties to be more adequate, to rescue community parties, etc;
  • Insertion of small rural municipalities on the tourist map of the State of Santa Catarina, and which in 2007 the Reception in the Colony was recognized by the Ministry of Tourism as a national benchmark in rural tourism, displacing more traditional destinations and even large farms;
  • The Association constantly receives visitors from abroad, especially the French nationality, because of the partnership with the country and the very origin of the entity.

The recognition of the Reception in the Colony and the positive results it provides to stakeholders and the environment to be expressed through the awards of the entity has already won as well. Among them, we can mention:

  • Diversification of Rural Economies / MDA – Ministry of Agrarian Development / 2002;
  • MDG – Millennium Development Goals – United Nations / 2005;
  • TOP Agribusiness – Ministry of Tourism / 2006; Generosity Project – Globo Publisher / 2008;
  • FINEP Award 2014 Regional South Stage, Social Sector Category.

 

5 - REQUIRED RESSOURCES

To implement the project to the local agritourism, according to the methodology developed by Reception in the Colony it is required:

A multiplying municipality, appointed by the institution which will be a partner of Reception in the Colony (city hall, EMATER, union, local NGO, etc.), requiring to meet the family farm in the municipality. This multiplier will be made available to work on the project as a part time;

A technician (bachelor of tourism or agronomist, preferably) which will enable the multiplier and monitor their activities.

Additionally, there are expenses related to training activities of farmers (courses, field days, technical visits, internships, among others), specific technical assistance (architects, designers, landscapers, among others), support for investments in properties (small improvements for visitors, with the possibility of PRONAF financing) and promotional activities (brochures, websites, participation in fairs, fan tour, etc).

 

6 - TRANSFER

The Reception in the Colony started with a pilot project on the slopes of the Sierra Geral. The work rose to “Reception in the Colony Methodology towards the development of Agritourism in Rural Municipalities”. This methodology is being applied in other regions of Santa Catarina and connected to other 4 Reception in the Colony associations. In this sense, the methodology has been enhanced and is being discussed the creation of a National Federation.

There is a great demand of municipalities of Santa Catarina and other states. In 2014 started a pilot project to expand it to a city in the State of Rio called Cassimiro de Abreu. For a municipality to implement the project it may, through a local organization, via justifiable demand, showing interest of local farmers with the project. Together – driving organization and the Reception – will check the financial conditions to meet the requirements to be elected. Once the conditions are met, it initiates the application of the methodology developed by the Reception. 

 

7 - LEARNED LESSON

The Reception in the Colony is recognized as a best practice by the reciprocal benefits, especially to the additional income, personal development, environmental improvements and other benefits already mentioned. With agritourism and in such process, farmers transform intangibles such as culture, know-how and natural beauty of its location into assets which generate resources of work, income and pride.

Among the factors which contributed to the success, it is worth noting the growing demand by urban dwellers for leisure and rest in the peace and quiet of the countryside, the beautiful Santa Catarina landscapes, the hospitality and the rich culture of people from the field. In addition, farmers and technical pioneers of the project played a central role in the organization and implementation of the project, managing to source alternatives to obstacles which may have appeared on the way – particularly linked to the lack of support and infrastructure of small municipalities which happened not to envision tourism as an alternative.

 

8 - PRACTICE ORIGINALITY  

The Reception in the Colony is linked to French Accueil Paysan Network, and such entity reference. The work performed by French farmers and local farmers have inspired the implementation of the project in Brazil.

 

It is possible to visit the labor during all months of the year, preferably during the weekdays.  

Nº of visitors: from 01 to 20.

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