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Food Justice Day to be declared in Toronto


Toronto’s first official Food Justice Day is almost here! Food justice means individuals and communities coming together to overcome economic and racial inequalities and access healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate food. Here you can find the city’s proclamation for Food Justice Day, May 5th. Toronto is reaffirming our commitment to food justice and the 5 planks of the Food Nation campaign:

1. Create healthy food neighbourhoods

2. Reduce poverty

3. Create good food jobs

4. Increase the availability of healthy food

5. Connect eaters and councillors

We’ll be celebrating with a reception at City Hall connecting our councillors with Torontonians and food organizations across the city including caterToronto, the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council, Malvern Action for Neighbourhood Change, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, and many more.

Help us celebrate by spreading the word! Share the news with your networks; tweet your support with #TOFJD15 and #FoodNationTO; and contact your councillor to tell them why food justice is important to you.

And don’t forget to join Food Nation here.

- Kyla Schwarz-Lam, Food Forward Food Justice Committee


Tweet up food justice

Interested in making food justice a priority in Toronto?

You're going to want to join our inaugural #foodjustice TweetChat, as we look at ways to advance our Food Nation platform, and push forward towards Food Justice Day in Toronto on May 5th.

When: 3-5PM, Wednesday, April 15

Where: Twitter! Follow @pushFoodForward and chime in with your ideas and stories at #FoodNationTO #TOpoli

What: Torontonians and special guests discussing how to advance food access, equity and good jobs in Toronto and at City Hall.

Join special guests Emily Martyn - Manager of the Regent Park Community Food Centre, Vanessa Yu - Founder of caterToronto and others

See you there.


#4: Let's Up Healthy Food

Food Nation, made up of hundreds of Torontonians including many City Councillors, is calling for a major reduction in poverty over this Council term. We need a strong push from all governments to create fair incomes for all.

Torontonians who can't afford to buy food continue to depend on assistance programs of many kinds that operate throughout the City. While we rely on these programs, we need to ensure the amount of food that's provided is of high quality and quantity. A number of projects are coming together to ensure better food, and we need to do more.

The First Food Nation Town Hall at George Brown College, early 2014

Along with the rise of community food centres and food banks that are working hard to improve their operations, we have a few great projects and policies that are making a difference.

The new food program tax credit for community food organizations allows farmers some funds back to donate fresh food to community programs. A new vegetarian food bank has just opened downtown, bringing more fresh produce to a number of Torontonians. Meanwhile, Creating Health Plus is getting healthy food staples to drop-ins across Toronto.

Varying amounts of modest funds are allowing these projects to happen. They are making a difference in health and dignity across the City. That's why Food Nation's fourth plank advocates: Bring fresh, healthy food to 100 food assistance programs.

During this Council term, the City needs to scale up the work of projects like these, and itself implement a sustainable fund to increase the amount of healthy food distributed in our diverse communities - for fresh food, and the infrastructure to prepare it. We want to see 100 community programs to have access, which could mean starting out with a four million dollar fund, just over a dollar per Torontonian. It would go a long way.

Programs like this work so well in partnership. Stronger leadership from the City on food access can bring other levels of government and partners to the table to bring contributions as well. Food simple must have a strong and reiterated mandate from City Council and with the funds to back it up.

Not only does healthy food need to be readily accessible, it food must be dignified, respecting our multitude of diets and cultural traditions. We can't have a one size fits all approach - community involvement should drive food choices.

We look forward to the kind of leadership that sees the solutions happening in our communities, and provides the support to make these solutions stronger. As we work towards food justice and access for everyone, there are things Toronto can do right away to make things better.

This was re-posted from the Food Nation blog. Food Nation is a campaign by Food Forward's Food Justice Committee which began at the end of 2013. It has the full support of Toronto's mayor and much of City Council.


Another stab at street food

 Montreal's Fruxi - source

City consultation of street food is happening once again, with a review of the last year's new by-laws to explore additional changes. A presentation will be held with an opportunity for public comment:

Committee Room 1 at City Hall, March 5 6:30-8:30PM

Learn how to make a deputation here.

Food Forward is pleased with the City's review of policy, with additional recommendations to make it more viable for food trucks to operate in Toronto. We propose the following:

  • Create a pilot project for 2015, allowing ten licenses for street food carts in the three most downtown wards. Currently no new food carts are allowed, however Torontonians and tourists are hungry for more options. With the number of hot dog carts dropping precipitously over the last several years, there are many available spots to try something, and food diversity is to be encouraged and in great demand.
  • In addition to your proposed changes, such as the increased time a vendor is allowed to park, we encourage the City to allow food trucks to park within 25, not 50 metres of a restaurant, as is the case in Calgary and London (where a food truck license is $1,225), and to allow restaurants the choice to opt out of this to support collaborative opportunities.
  • As we have in the past, we ask Licensing and Standards to work with us and others to explore licensing of other types of street food, in a way that would enable food access and support new entrepreneurs for those with small mobile food vending like carts, bicycles, produce stands, and mini-markets with locally grown foods.

Food Forward has worked with partners since 2011 to bring about changes to the City's street food environment, resulting in more opportunities and an increase in diverse street food in city streets, parks and private properties.