AgendaCamp: culinary tourism needs money, co-ordination

2009-agenda-camp-smallMoney and co-ordinated leadership. Those are two things that are needed to bring culinary tourism to the next level in Ontario, say a group of participants who discussed this topic at TVO’s AgendaCamp in Kingston today.

There are many different programs supporting local food and culinary tourism opportunities, which presents both obstacles and opportunities to those trying to promote various initiatives.

Brands and programs like Savour Ontario, Foodland Ontario, Taste of the County, Savour Ottawa and the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance were all mentioned, along with other regional initiatives in places like Norfolk County, Stratford, and Grey Bruce.

Participants felt that a stronger co-ordinating voice would help the various regional groups work together more closely by sharing information and resources. One examples mentioned were the local food maps that many regions have produced. The scope and cost of the program differs from area to area – yet they’re all trying to accomplish the same goal of making it easy for consumers to buy local food.

Another obstacle is funding. Although there are government programs available to support local efforts, this funding is often limited to a short amount of time – usually less time than is needed to get a new project off the ground and self-sustaining. This leaves local organizers spending as much time scrambling for ongoing funding as they do on actually promoting local food and farmers.

For more comments from this discussion, visit the AgendaCamp wiki.

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