Rebecca Mackenzie, President & CEO
Rebecca loves Canada and local edibles and that her career enables her to explore Canada and the globe, connecting people across the agriculture and tourism industries to grow a “taste of place”.
Passionate about the interrelation between food, agriculture, tourism, arts and culture, Rebecca has been instrumental in developing tourism products including Prince Edward County’s award winning Taste Trail and the CTA’s Feast On certification program. She and her team at the CTA are proud to be managing the annual Terroir Symposium and working with clients around the world to Grow Food Tourism.
Born and raised in Toronto, Rebecca spent her summers in rural Ontario. In her grade 12 year of high school, Rebecca sailed on a 156-foot tall ship to 20 countries in Europe and Africa – an experience that rooted her passion for travel and adventure! She still splits her time between Toronto and Prince Edward County, and practices her craft for food tourism with her own experience – the Terroir Run.
Agatha Podgorski, Director of Community Engagement
Agatha believes in local food, responsible purchasing practices and the health benefits of a glass of good pinot.
She once considered law school, but after completing a degree at the University of Toronto, she realized she would much rather eat than be eaten. She’s since gotten a diploma in Culinary Management from George Brown College after which she spent time in Toronto kitchens. In 2010, she traded in her spoons to spread the word about Ontario’s amazing food experiences and help develop our province’s rich and varied food culture. In 2011, she was recognized by the OHI as one of Ontario’s Top 30 Under 30 in the hospitality industry.
As the Director of Community Engagement, Agatha works to build lasting relationships between destinations, chefs and farmers through education, storytelling and knowledge sharing. She can be found rubbing elbows with members, managing communications and creating delicious events across Ontario. She acts as brand manager, social media maven and content curator. She was instrumental in developing the Experience Assessment Tool (EAT) and Ontario’s foodservice designation program, Feast On. She manages media relations for the Terroir Hospitality Symposium.
She has contributed to numerous food and drink publications including The Huffington Post, The Globe & Mail, Westjet Magazine and The Toronto Star. She was the managing editor of The Ontario Culinary Adventure Guide.
In her spare time, she can be found playing with her giant Bernese mountain dog, tending her tomatoes or investigating the newest local food haunt. She is an avid ‘grammer and traveller. She has studied in Brno, slurped snails in Morocco, cycled the Irish coast and eaten puffin in Iceland. She’s also been known to drive all the way to Ottawa for a well poured pint.
Christine Kuyzk, Program Manager
Christine is an entrepreneurial thinker and lifelong learner who believes that an individual can make a difference and that most good things come from being close to the land. Her boundless energy and sense of adventure have lead to unique opportunities: representing Canada at the New Orleans World’s Fair, coordinating cereal crop field trials with farmers in Northern Saskatchewan and observing foreign elections with CANADEM, a non-profit peace and security organization.
Christine spent many years in the corporate IT world and eventually, her desire to put her degree in Agriculture into play lead her to start a successful gift basket company, which exposed her to small-scale Ontario food companies and growers. For the past five years, Christine managed business development and sales with the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, where she focused on attracting local and artisanal producers and cultivating relationships to support the “farm to table” narrative.
Christine Kuyzk is a certified ESL teacher and finds inspiration in the diverse, multicultural world of new Canadians. She has always led an active lifestyle and spends her free time golfing, skiing and traveling this wide world.
Landon Logie, Event Coordinator
Landon is a passionate individual who approaches every project with gusto, and from whom you will never get less than 110%. She is always looking for challenges and new experiences that will provide her the opportunity to learn and grow – if food is involved, even better!
At 14 Landon had the opportunity to travel North-America while participating as a contestant on a reality TV show. Throughout her travels Landon saw first-hand how powerful the connection is between a city, their food and their culture. This built the foundation to what is now a strong belief in the importance of the farm-to-table movement, and a love for culinary experiences that highlight this.
Landon has a Special Event Management Diploma and is currently completing her Honours BA in Business Administration – Hospitality, with the dream of one day opening her own consulting firm. In her spare time you can find Landon in the kitchen whipping up her famous cheesecake, out for a run on the Lakeshore promenade, or sipping an Old-Fashioned on a rooftop patio.
Megan Wollenberg, Feast On Coordinator
Megan is an advocate for championing local food as a tool to building healthier food systems, and believes food experiences are a catalyst for connection and an expression of place.
Megan has a degree in English partnered with ethnogeographic travel studies throughout South East Asia and Eastern and Western Europe. Her travels influenced her to return to school for holistic nutrition. This launched her into an eight-year career in nutrition. She has developed and managed her own practice; worked with leading brands in the nutrition industry; worked in research; and has volunteered for several organizations as an educator and connector between real food, food systems and health.
Health aside, the fastest way to Megan’s heart is sharing your favourite food stories. Like a true New Brunswicker, get-togethers involving food and hearty conversation is a tradition that runs deep. It is a privilege and delight to share a meal with a group of people and if one gets the chance to learn about someone else, even better.
Megan’s favourite foods tend to be seasonal, but she’ll never turn down a beautifully curated plate of umami goodness. Barbeque, shiitake mushrooms, and baked cherry tomatoes with olive oil and harissa are the closest things to magic.
Trevor Jonas Benson, Director of Food Tourism Development & Innovation
Trevor is a socially-minded systems thinker, progressive project manager, and enthusiastic enterpriser, who is as passionate about collaborating with others to create meaningful change in the way we experience and value not only food but also the people and places that make it taste so great.
For the past 10 years, Trevor has been working to support the development of short value changes and local sustainable food systems, and he loves only one thing more than cooking and eating food with others, and that’s travel. Trevor feels privileged to have worked for a couple of years in London’s 1,000-year-old food market (Borough Market) and counts himself among the blessed to call the culinary capital of the Caribbean (Barbados) his second home.
Trevor brings vast experience in community-based and market research, evaluation and impact assessment, marketing and sales, and social enterprise development and capacity building. He has a background in Sustainable Local Food as well as Law and Human Rights, and sits on the Advisory Committee of FoodShare Toronto’s Cross-Cultural Food Access Innovation Hub.
By working in cross-functional teams and on diverse projects, Trevor has learned how to turn challenges into opportunities, plan strategically, growing sustainably, partner wisely, and measuring accurately.
Caroline Morrow, Project Coordinator
The relationship between people and food has been a recurring theme in Caroline’s academic, professional, and personal life. At home and abroad, Caroline is always on the lookout for unique, local food experiences and she is passionate about promoting economic development through sustainable food systems. Through her Master’s in Urban Planning and Bachelor’s in International Development, Caroline has delved deeply into the worlds of economic development, sustainable food systems, cultural tourism, environmental studies, and land management.
Alongside non-profit organizations, academic institutions and municipal governments, Caroline has worked on international participatory research and engagement projects in destinations including, Panama, Mexico, India, and Scotland. Caroline has extensive experience designing collaborative research activities and facilitating engagement sessions. Through various national and international projects, Caroline has worked closely with the public, community groups, developers, First Nations governments, municipalities and consulting teams. Caroline is enthusiastic about showcasing local food experiences and tying food tourism into broader food security and economic development goals.
Camilo Montoya-Guevara, Research Associate
Camilo is passionate about supporting the development of engaging, enriching, and meaningful cultural tourism experiences. He believes that culinary tourism provides some of the most immersive ways for visitors to engage with different cultures and explored this notion through his masters of cultural heritage policy and management. In fact, he continues to share his passion for culinary travel as tour guide for Savour Toronto, where he expands the many ways Toronto’s food scene balances international cuisine and local ingredients.
With his background in cultural studies as well as French, Spanish, Italian and German language skills, Camilo has a keen eye for creative investigation and he brings this to all projects. He has extensive experience carrying out participatory research projects with a variety of partners, including community representatives, cultural governing bodies, and academic institutions in Canada, Colombia, Germany, and Hungary. He has strong skills working with a range of academic and policy documents to carry out in-depth primary and secondary research and provide accurate and insightful results. Camilo has a particular interest in researching, shaping, and promoting cultural developments that foster community participation and stimulate sustainable economic development. He is always excited to apply his people and language skills to make research processes richer and more inclusive.
OUR 2017 – 2018 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Director of Tourism
County of Haliburton
Co-Founder and Co-Owner
Rosehall Run Winery
Director, Economic Development & Tourism
Municipality of Grey Highlands
Professor of Hospitality Management
George Brown College
Co-Owner & Operator
Vice-President Tourism Programs & Development
Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island
Business Development Manager
Flanagan Food Service