Director of Food Tourism Development & Innovation

Trevor Jonas Benson

Lead Consultant

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.



Rebecca Mackenzie

Senior Consultant

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 “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.

Rebecca contributes her expertise to a variety of industry Boards including Destination Ontario and the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Gastronomic Tourism Network.

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.

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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 is passionate about involving the public in plan development and 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 unique food experiences, shaping how people experience places through food, and helping regions identify their unique “taste of place”.


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Nalisha Sankreacha

Research Associate

Nalisha is a strong advocate for local food system development, and believes that people should critically and creatively engage with their foodscapes and foodways. In so doing, she trusts that sustainable and collaborative food networks can be built and leveraged to stimulate tourism and enhance local economies. With Grow Food Tourism, Nalisha is currently working on the development of a national framework and four regional food tourism strategies. She has extensive experience conducting research and analysis, including the development of research methodologies and the design of data collection tools. With a background in hospitality and tourism, she has worked in a variety of roles, from the frontline, to supervisory, and research positions. Through these various roles, Nalisha has developed an intimate understanding of the tools, resources, operational procedures, and programming involved in the industry, giving her the tools to constantly innovate.



Agatha Podgorski

Community Manager

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 in Political Science at the University of Toronto, she realized she would much rather eat than be eaten. Agatha then achieved a diploma in Culinary Management from George Brown College after which she spent time in Toronto kitchens. She’s since traded in her spoons to spread the word about Ontario’s amazing food experiences and help develop our 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.

Agatha has had many roles since joining CTA in 2011, but can now be found managing communications and media. She is the CTA’s 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 has contributed to numerous food publications including The Huffington Post, The Globe & Mail, Westjet Magazine and The Toronto Star. She was also the managing editor of The Ontario Culinary Adventure Guide.



Barb Shopland

Senior Food Tourism Developer

Barb is the founder and principal of 2gener8 solutions inc., a results-based consulting practice in the food and agri-food sectors. Her work with clients includes strategic design, partnership development, community engagement, curriculum development and training, and project management. Barb’s training and passion in the food and beverage sector and experience as an entrepreneur have been instrumental in the scope of work and results generated in the private and public sectors including the development of the food and entrepreneurship strategy for Georgian College, the strategic growth plan including the facilities’ upgrade and expansion of the George Brown Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts, and the 10-year Ontario Culinary Tourism Strategy and Action Plan for the Ministry of Tourism.

She was one of the founders of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA) and served on the board from 2008 – 2009. Barb has also worked with the food and farming community assisting food business entrepreneurs in proof of concept and strategic business planning and has worked with regional economic development organizations in North America to develop food cluster concepts to improve economic development. Barb is the Executive Officer of the Essa District Agricultural Society, Past Chair of the Toronto Food Business Incubator (now called Foodstarter), Past Vice Chair of the Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee (GTA AAC), Past Chair of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA), and Past Director of Cuisine Canada. In 2006 Barb received the University of Toronto Arbor Award and in 2008 she was inducted as a Fellow in the Ontario Hostelry Institute (OHI).



Danielle Brodhagen-Amos

Senior Product Developer

Danielle lives to travel and loves to eat. Her passion for food led to a 15-year career in hospitality. Danielle worked with the Culinary Tourism Alliance as the Director of Product Development for two years supporting food tourism development projects in the Haliburton Highlands, Windsor Essex & Pelee Island and Central counties to name a few. Danielle has returned to the CTA as a Senior Food Tourism Developer on a project basis. Prior to joining the CTA, she spent five years developing Stratford’s Culinary Tourism Program and was the founder and the force behind the award winning Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival and past co-chair of Slow Food Perth County.

After graduating from Queen’s University, Danielle traveled to India and Nepal, searching for spice markets, fish markets and night food markets. In Southeast Asia, she used Anthony Bourdain ‘A Cook’s Tour’ as her guidebook to join the locals at off the beaten path restaurants and street food stalls. Danielle lived in Japan for three years as an English teacher, followed by a year in Australia before moving back to her hometown of Stratford. It was in Australia that she was introduced to farm to table cuisine and the slow food movement. Danielle and her husband, Paul and 6-year old daughter, Elloise believe in eating seasonally and enjoy spending weekends visiting with farmers at local markets. Their family spent six weeks eating their way through Japan, Thailand and the UK and return to Asia to travel to Taiwan in December. Since Paul loves to cook, Danielle and Elloise live a good life! Their biggest challenge moving to the big city is leaving their deep freeze full of the eighth of a cow and half a heritage pig they just purchased from their farmer friends…and their wine cellar full of Danielle’s favourite Ontario pinot noir!