An idea that germinated back when Dale Bagley was Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor, "A Taste of the Kenai" now known as Global Food Alaska, returns to the Kenai/Soldotna area this month with something new that promises to be of interest to many Alaskans, the first ever Alaskan Culinary-Agri Tourism Development Reception. According to Kenai Peninsula Tourism and Marketing Council (KPTMC) executive director Shanon Hamrick this event will be open to the public, "For a long time we have felt it was necessary to do something that brings together our great Alaska seafood and agriculture products with our tourism products so we can showcase them to the rest of the world and bring more visitors here to experience everything that the Kenai Peninsula has to offer," explained Hamrick.
Global Food Alaska is an independent, private initiative of individuals, companies and organizations that actively collaborate to enhance the food and related business in Alaska. "The story as far as I'm concerned is that this group of people is not sitting around with their hand out. This is a group of solid Alaskans from all over the state that are the 'can do' people that built this state. They are coming together to meet with their market buyers to create the strongest possible relationships for sustainable business. This is not big corporate industry. These are independent business people such as Sean and Karin from Kenai River Seafoods or Marie Bader from the Shellfish Growers Association or Marcy and Geoff from Alaskan Brewing that have done some pretty amazing work in establishing manufacturing businesses throughout Alaska. They are coming together to support better business at Global Food Alaska 2009. We are purely grassroots and have been since the beginning with Mayor Bagley's 'Taste of the Kenai' with everyone involved helping out. It is my view that as stakeholders in Alaska it is all of our responsibility to play a positive role in our economic future. Alaska can be a 'kick ass' food producer for the world. But first we must listen to the world," says Robin Richardson of the Global Food Collaborative.
"This is not just about food," explains Hamrick, "We're talking about really expanding our outreach. Imagine a visitor coming to the Kenai and going out on a commercial fishing vessel and having that in your face Alaskan experience during commercial fishing season. We're talking about marrying our commercial industries with our tourist industries for the benefit of all," she said. The Alaskan Culinary-Agri Tourism Development reception will be held at the Soldotna Sports Center following the Global Seafood Conference at 5:30pm on Thursday, June 11th. The event is free and open to the public but those wishing to attend the reception should call KPTMC at 262-5229. Global Food Alaska is an industry only event and for more information call Robin Richardson at 563-0154 or go to www.globalfoodcolaborative.com .
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