Culinary And Agritourism Are Indiana's Calling Cards

Posted: Updated:

Coming off another fabulous Indiana State Fair and as we approach our annual Fall harvest, I am compelled to write about the culinary and agritourism profile of our state. In March of this year, together with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, we unveiled a culinary and agritourism strategy for Indiana: In my view, agriculture has always been the calling card of Indiana. Now culinary and agritourism are bolstering it further.

When we talk about culinary and agritourism, we’re talking about food-based and farm-based activities that bring authentic local flavor experiences and working landscape experiences to consumers. We believe that a true powerhouse for Indiana lies at the intersection of these two disciplines, which continue to grow, as does consumer spending.

To illustrate, travelers spent $3.2 billion in Indiana restaurants in 2015, part of a record spending year for travelers visiting Indiana destinations. Now, this is spending on food and beverage within the broader tourism industry, not solely agritourism and culinary tourism. But, it gives you some sense for the $11.5 billion tourism industry in Indiana. In addition, ISDA recently compiled a census of farms that engage in some form of agritourism and learned that we have more than 300 agritourism assets across our state.

Culinary and agritourism offer some of the greatest upside potential for both our broader tourism industry and for our friends who have a stake in the future of farming and healthy rural economies. The raw appeal of our existing agritourism product and our advancing reputation as a culinary destination, plus the strong overlap with outdoor recreation and heritage tourism make for a powerful combination.

There’s a certain reverence when it comes to farming in our state– it’s part of our Hoosier DNA. People want to see and experience life on the farm in an authentic, meaningful way. Given our rich agricultural heritage and the rise in demand for experiential travel, we at the Indiana Office of Tourism of Development, along with our partners at ISDA, recognize the tremendous growth potential here and believe our state is uniquely positioned to deliver those experiences. Plus, growers and producers want it, so do farm direct sellers and marketers, as well as those who have a particular interest in seeing rural Indiana flourish.

That’s why we developed the statewide culinary and agritourism strategy. We want to support product development activities undertaken by individual agritourism operators and regions throughout the state, which fulfills our mission of economic impact by helping these businesses form, grow and thrive. We also want to deliver resources, education and marketing to help producers reach a broader audience and tell their story in a new and exciting way. All of this, when fully implemented, will lead to a stronger, healthier rural economy. 

To succeed, we need to draw more people into these industries and bolster the ones that are already there. We want to own our agricultural roots. We want to take the farm-to-table lifestyle that we’ve been living for generations and use it with more intention to drive visitors to our destinations. It’s our vision to make Indiana the center for culinary and agritourism best practices and a destination for unmatched food and farm-based experiences. We now have the blueprint to make that happen.

Mark Newman is executive director of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development.

  • Perspectives

    • Greg Ballard is the former mayor of Indianapolis and a co-founder and current board member of Indy Women in Tech.

      Shining a Spotlight on Women in Tech

      I still get a thrill driving through the gates of our legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway and I will be lucky enough to do so for an entire week soon. This week, the best women golfers in the world will once again display their talents at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in the Indy Women in Tech Championship. However, the tournament is much more than an athletic competition. It is an opportunity to support a solution to a critical economic and workforce development issue.

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • U.S. Steel 'Renaissance' Spurs $750M Gary Works Investment

      Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) has announced a $750 million investment in its Gary Works operations. The company says the funds are part of a $2 billion asset revitalization effort that will take place over the next five years. Last year, U.S. Steel detailed plans that involved pumping $35 million into Gary Works, which followed the $23 million first phase of its Hot Strip Mill Restoration Plan. The latest investment, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. says...

    • Fort Wayne Radio Icon Butcher Passes Away

      A fixture in the Fort Wayne radio scene has passed away. Charly Butcher spent more than 30 years in Fort Wayne radio with a successful morning show on WMEE-FM and, most recently, as host of "Fort Wayne's Morning News" on WOWO radio. Butcher was 61. Butcher was part of WMEE's popular "Those Two Guys In The Morning" show with Tony Richards in the 1980s. He joined WOWO in the mid-2000s as host of "Fort Wayne's Morning News With Charly Butcher."

    • (Rendering of phase two of the Riverfront Fort Wayne project provided by the city of Fort Wayne.)

      Fort Wayne Riverfront Contract Pulled

      A proposed $2.5 million contract for the design work for the next two phases of the Riverfront Fort Wayne project has been pulled. Our partners at WPTA-TV report the Fort Wayne City Council withdrew the contract, which was set to go to Philadelphia-based DAVID RUBIN Land Collective.

    • Hogsett Unveils 'Create Indy'

      Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has launched a comprehensive effort aimed at making Indianapolis an arts and culture hub. Create Indy combines the city's music and film strategies with new grants to support design, media and food projects as well as strategic planning efforts. One of the new grants will target emerging cultural economies" that often do not quality for traditional funding sources. Individuals and organizations can apply for up to $10,000 each.

    • The building will be converted to the Aloft Indianapolis Downtown

      Historic Downtown Indy Building to Become Hotel

      A hotel owner and operator with offices in Columbus and New York has acquired a historic building in downtown Indianapolis. Everwood Hospitality Partners says it has invested $5 million to acquire the former Stockyards Bank Building and plans to invest an additional $13 million to transform the building into a 128-room hotel. The 12-story building, which was built in 1898, will become the Aloft Indianapolis Downtown. Renovation work is expected to begin in the...