This project promotes walking food tours in downtown Northampton, with the goal of making the city a food destination. Many tourists and visitors pass through the Valley in their travels or while dropping off students. Food tours are a way for visitors to learn about our incredible local food producers and purveyors. In a 2.5 hour guided walking tour around downtown Northampton, each tour stops at 7-8 destinations to learn about the businesses and sample foods that they make or sell. Food tours prompt return visits to participating businesses and encourage visitors to spend time downtown. They also return home with stories to share about Northampton's vibrant food community.
The idea is not new [http://www.growfoodtourism.com/how-food-tours-support-destination-growth/], but it is the first in the Pioneer Valley. As such, it will need to be promoted both online (through tourism websites, social media) and in print (regional print supplements, rack cards at hospitality locations, tourism organizations and institutions); and it will require a well designed logo. The local food tour of Northampton had a successful trial run and is ready to begin, once the website is live (early September). I expect to add additional tours (Vegetarian, Dessert, Apple Harvest) in the future. With extensive publicity in the first year, I expect attendance at the Food Tours to increase from Fall 2017 through Spring /Summer 2018 and beyond.
Funded by Northampton, MA (October 2017)