The Sound of the Bell

The Sound of the Bell

by John Kennedy

When I was growing up in rural Maryland in the late sixties and early seventies, there were only a few homes and farms that populated the countryside. When we youngsters were all out in the fields, woods and creeks, the time to come home was announced with the “sound of a bell.”

Each family’s bell had a unique and distinctive pitch that determined who had to go home first…sometimes the Kennedy children were called home late, sometimes early, but always before sunset. This memory is one of my most precious growing up.  So much so, a bell is always present within each home I’ve lived (my sister-in-law, Jenn, even hand-made me one for a special occasion… thank you again, Jenn!)

I feel we all have a very distinctive sound to our own business’ bell, and we ring it as long and as loud as we can in our marketing and advertising efforts to tell our story and bring our customers to our doors. And your bell, like the one I grew up with, should be heard for many, many miles as well.

In my work, I straddle the farm world and the garden center world as well as the winery industry, and I find there is much more in common than you may think.

Many of my garden center friends now have farmer’s markets, weddings, grow-your-own produce, and corn mazes; and it seems the race for relevance into the future is found in feeding the needs of the next generation of consumers…not the “old-school” generation of how it’s been since I’ve been playing in the woods, creeks and fields of yesterday.

The generation of tomorrow is 86 million Millennials strong who seek social consumerism, locally-sourced and family-owned businesses that offer a wide range of experiences to create participative memories. They seek authentic agritourism that celebrates community, family, passion, and ethical capitalism--purposeful meets profitable.

Rockledge Gardens, Reston Farm Garden Market, Waldoch Farm Garden Center, Bedner’s Farm & Greenhouse, Maple Lawn Farms, and Old Westminster Winery, along with countless other members of both NAFDMA and The Garden Center Group are seeing this “hybrid future” of the industry.

They see the bending arc of change towards a multifaceted business model…one that extends their seasons and invites the night into their days. Music, wine, farm markets, corn mazes, education, produce, weddings, and craft beer, are all compliments and cousins to plants, trees, greenery and shrubs, not competitors.

Farms, garden centers and wineries are each on parallel roads that will, in the not-too-distant future, defy physics, continue bending toward each other, and then intersect at the corner of Agriculture and Tourism.

Imagine if there was a single space where they could all collectively ring their bells and drive awareness, traffic, e-commerce, and revenue to all member locations? A site that celebrates the families and the future-- a bridge connecting farms, wineries and garden centers into one bigger tent of opportunity—Agritourism.

That bridge has been built and it can be found at

Join the community of farms, garden centers and wineries who are collectively ringing their distinctive bells and driving industry promotion and consumer engagement to higher levels as one single, united sound.

Join the acceleration into the convenience economy where farms, garden centers and wineries are creating and driving e-commerce engagement to their new and existing clients while inviting virtual visits to meet the family, tour the farm, see where their food grows, and purchase products on a “virtually local” farmer’s market…with the use of a phone, iPad, or computer.

The convenience economy balanced perfectly with the experience economy—the new now!

Join the momentum and movement into the “new now” of agritourism, e-commerce, and the future of garden centers, wineries and farms…welcome to www.Agritourism.Life

This platform has been created, built and offered to connect both NAFDMA and Group members to the next generation of consumers… to meet them where they are and want to be. 

There will be member discounts offered to both associations, along with a business forum for collaboration and information sharing as each associations’ roads bend towards the future of both industries---Agritourism.Life

Be safe and be well.


Want to discuss a radical opportunity with John Kennedy? Call or email him!

John Kennedy
[email protected]
Cell: ‭443-605-7095

REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as John Kennedy, Robert Hendrickson, Steve Bailey, Sid Raisch and Jean Seawright, are included in your retainer!

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