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Five-year strategy will advance Indigenous food tourism in Ontario

Indigenous Tourism Ontario launched ‘FEAST’ on Aug. 10

Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) has launched a new strategy to advance the Indigenous food tourism sector across the province over the next five years.

FEAST: Growing Indigenous Food Tourism in Ontario (FEAST) was released on Aug. 10 following two years of development work with partners including the Culinary Tourism Alliance.

"As Indigenous people of these lands, we've been hosts for hundreds of years, and initiatives like FEAST will further create space to help Indigenous people tell their story on their terms. Indigenous food supply chains are ancient, yet still exist and will exist as long as Mother Earth exists,” said Kevin Eshkawkogan, ITO's president and CEO, in a news release.

“As the first region in the world to complete and begin to implement an Indigenous food tourism strategy, we are extremely proud to be helping the Indigenous food tourism sector in Ontario grow for all to enjoy.”

According to the ITO, food tourism includes “any tourism experience where a person interacts with food and drink that reflects the local cuisines, heritages, or cultures of a place.” That can include dining at a local restaurant, visiting a farm, or attending a cooking class.

“The rise of food tourism stems from a shift to experiential travel where visitors are immersed in the culture of the place in a meaningful way,” the ITO notes. “This is usually achieved through memorable interactions with the local people, food, and environment.”

Among its goals, FEAST aims to develop new products, boost awareness of Indigenous food tourism, and use food tourism to support Indigenous food sovereignty.

The ITO also believes growing Indigenous food tourism can be an act of reconciliation, increasing dialogue and cultural exchange, supporting Indigenous-owned businesses, and contributing to community development.

The full FEAST document is available to read here.