OCEANSIDE — On June 4 more than 200 people attended the premier screening of the documentary “Agritourism in North San Diego County” at the Sunshine Brooks Theater in Oceanside. Produced and directed by KOCT senior producer Jacob Rush, the nearly 20-minute film showcases the growing agritourism business in North County.
Agritourism is defined as a commercial enterprise at a working farm, ranch or agricultural plant conducted for the enjoyment of visitors that generates supplemental income for the owner to thrive. San Diego County, with its $3 billion dollar farming industry and millions of acres of farmland, is ideal for agritourism.
Several community leaders who were involved in making the film spoke prior to the screening, including Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego Farm Bureau. Larson spoke about San Diego’s rich agricultural history and the fact that the county is a magnet for tourists. “It only makes sense that there would be an interest in going to a farm, to see where the food came from that they’re eating at dinner in a restaurant, he said. “The tourists are already here and so are real, working farms.”
North County Supervisor Bill Horn also spoke. Horn was instrumental in getting funding for the documentary through the Board of Supervisor’s 2017-2018 Community Enhancement Grant. Horn told the audience, who applauded wildly, that 90 percent of all the agriculture in San Diego County is in North County.
But the man who made the film received the most sustained applause, as well as some whoops and hollers and a lot of laughter. Rush told the audience that he’d grown up in Chico where his family raised chickens and had a huge garden.
“We grew up as genuine hippies,” he said. “We bartered our eggs and shared our vegetables.” He talked about the passion he has for stories that matter, this story in particular because of his background.
“I was so excited to be telling this story,” Rush said. “Getting out and visiting these farms, visiting these people, seeing all this open land. Talking to people who still have this passion for farming. This was a passion project for the past two years.”
“Agritourism in North San Diego County” is on the KOTC website at www.kotc.org and is also on YouTube.