Indigenous Tourism Ontario Launches FEAST

FEAST: Growing Indigenous Food Tourism in Ontario (FEAST) is being launched by Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) with a vision of establishing Indigenous foods and foodways as integral parts of Ontario’s identity.

Over a two-year period, ITO worked with partners across the province to develop FEAST, a 5-year plan to strategically advance the Indigenous food tourism sector. With Ontario being home to many diverse Indigenous cultures and unique foodways, Indigenous food tourism experiences serve as a catalyst for increased dialogue and cultural exchange, support Indigenous-owned businesses, and contribute to community development.

Kevin Eshkawkogan, CEO & President, ITO, explained that: “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.”

FEAST will guide enhancement of existing Indigenous tourism products and encourage new, immersive food tourism experience development. With wide reaching impacts, ITO is committed to maximizing the economic, environmental, and socio-cultural benefits that Indigenous communities receive.

In addition to strengthening local food systems, reducing food miles, and localizing the impacts of visitor dollars, this work will also contribute to cultural revitalization by protecting food traditions and celebrating innovations.

Trevor Jonas Benson, VP, Destination Development, Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA), pointed out that: “Since time immemorial, Indigenous foods and foodways have been enriching the place that we are so privileged to call home, and they have the potential to become a meaningful part of every visitor experience in Ontario and beyond.”

He continued: “As settler allies operating in the tourism space, we could not be more invested in supporting implementation in partnership with ITO and Indigenous businesses seeking to create positive change through food tourism.”

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