Editor Advocates Understanding Through Travel

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Best Practices: The Top Farm-Stays?

By Jodi McKeeman

Try … Poland. Imagine: After an early morning of mushroom hunting and a sausage-and-omelet breakfast, you might take the horses out for a ride to the river. Dinner includes the cheese you helped make and the garden herbs your hostess taught you about. And afterwards, your hosts may engage you in a round of song and storytelling. All this for modest daily rates on the order of U.S. $10 to 20.

As many a European family farm yields to agribusiness, Poland is trying to hold onto its rural heritage. To help, the European Centre for Ecological Agriculture and Tourism, ECEAT-Poland (poland.eceat.org/indexang.htm), ten years ago launched an award-winning farm-stay program to boost rural incomes and show off the benefits of eco-sensitive farming.

ECEAT lists around 100 farms, many with English speakers. You can savor Polish diversity by driving farm to farm, sampling mountains, lakes, seashores, and the outskirts of historic cities. Accommodations range from camping to luxurious rooms, from one-woman households to places bulging with kids and cousins. Yet all provide the kind of welcome prompted by the Polish proverb, "When a guest enters the house, God enters also."

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