HURON COUNTY – Vicki Lass, director of economic development for Huron County, presented a report to county council last week on the department’s plans for its strategic direction, including a partnership with the Culinary Tourism Alliance to be a host destination for one of their Feast on the Farm events in 2023.
The Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA) is a provincial non-profit organization that works with communities to grow food tourism by leveraging the history, heritage, and culture behind the food and drink that makes each destination unique.
CTA is the industry leader in building destinations’ taste of place by supporting agriculture, viticulture, and aquaculture industries across the culinary tourism value chain. Huron County Economic Development is a current member of the CTA.
The Feast on the Farm is a two-day event consisting of one consumer day and one industry day.
Ontario’s best destinations, local food, and beverages, plus top chef talent, are showcased during the event.
Every Feast on the Farm event takes place in a different location, is hosted in collaboration with a destination partner, and offers programming centered around themes relating to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The cost of partnering in this event is $15,000 and will be added to the 2023 Economic Development budget.
Lass included in her report the probable “return on investment,” saying that the average attendance at these events is approximately 200 people.
“Taking into account the average visitor spending on tickets, accommodations, food, gas, local experiences and shopping, then applying the economic multiplier for events, we can expect to see a direct economic impact of approximately $150,000,” Lass said. “In addition to this impact, we will be working to foster relationships between GTHA chefs and our local producers, creating further economic impact and opportunities for local producers.”
Included in the report was an extensive list of benefits, including provincewide marketing exposure on Culinary Tourism Alliance’s social media channels, block ads on CTA’s website for the Feast on the Farm event, and Ontario’s West Coast logo and website link on CTA’s event page.
Additionally, engaging with provincial industry leaders, professional development opportunities, customized packages like “Stay and Play” and locally made “swag bags” are all advantages created by partnering with the CTA.
“Partnering with CTA on a 2023 Feast on the Farm event will allow us to showcase the many food and beverage products grown and produced in Huron County and to market Ontario’s West Coast as a provincial culinary destination,” said Lass.
The Economic Development department hopes to “catapult Huron as a culinary destination in a way that we could not do within the next year without this partnership.”
Council approved the request to participate in the event.
Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times