Indigenous Tourism Ontario

Indigenous Tourism Ontario launches food tourism initiative

Indigenous Tourism Ontario has launched a first-of-its-kind food tourism initiative aimed at establishing Indigenous foods and foodways as integral parts of Ontario’s identity. 

FEAST: Growing Indigenous Food Tourism in Ontario launched on August 10 as a five-year plan intended to strategically advance the Indigenous food tourism sector.

Over a two-year period, Indigenous Tourism Ontario worked with partners across the province to develop the plan.

An ITO release notes that Ontario is home to many diverse Indigenous cultures and unique foodways. “Indigenous food tourism experiences can not only meet these demands but also serve as a catalyst for increased dialogue and cultural exchange, support Indigenous-owned businesses, and contribute to community development,” says the organization.

“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,” said Kevin Eshkawkogan, CEO and president of ITO. “Indigenous food supply chains are ancient, yet still exist and will exist as long as Mother Earth exists. 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.”

With wide-reaching impacts, ITO is committed to maximizing the economic, environmental, and socio-cultural benefits that Indigenous communities and businesses see from Indigenous food tourism development. 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.

Moving forward, priorities include ensuring community involvement in food tourism development, focusing on sustainability, preventing the commodification of local cultures and cultural products, mitigating the risk of over-tourism, and protecting long-term community access to foods and medicines. 

Active partners will be essential to the implementation of this strategy, and Indigenous Tourism Ontario will work closely with Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners to seize opportunities for food tourism development.

“FEAST is an incredible resource that is a first-of-its-kind foundation for Indigenous food tourism development and growth in the province of Ontario,” said Billy Alexander, chairperson of Indigenous Food Tourism Table. “There has never been a larger need following COVID than for our Ontario Indigenous entrepreneurial spirit to rise and take its rightful place as a leader in Indigenous food tourism. FEAST will be essential in minimizing the risk and eliminating the guesswork, while allowing the individual and communities to truly concentrate on developing genuine Indigenous experiences that allow them to share our specific and unique culture through food.”

To learn more about FEAST, please visit the website here.

ITO is Ontario’s first and only dedicated Indigenous tourism organization that focuses on uniting communities, Indigenous organizations and industry leaders to support the growth of Indigenous tourism in Ontario. Through product development and marketing of authentic Indigenous experiences, ITO establishes a platform for Indigenous cultural expression and preservation through tourism. For more information, visit

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