The Community Food Program Tax Credit is now a go for 2014.
One year after being passed as part of the Local Food Act, the credit is now available for farmers and other food producers/harvesters who donate to programs that benefit those who need access to food. It gives an incentive for producers to be able to provide fresh and local food- it could mean less food waste, and some more money for farmers to cover their costs.
You may remember the tax credit from the Local Food Act debate last fall. The credit was developed in a bill put forward by MPP Bob Bailey with support from the Ontario Association of Food Banks. It was adopted by the government as part of the Local Food Act. Food Forward worked in committee with members of all parties, especially MPP Ernie Hardeman who brought forward a motion with our ammendment, to expand those who can benefit from the credit to include not only food banks, but charitable organizations that distribute food in schools, community food centres, youth or seniors programs.
Any of these programs can take advantage of the credit as long as they distribute food for free and "provide relief for the poor". That means community food programs are eligible, such as those that may partner with neighbourhood centres, agencies or community health centres. This is a broader success in government and Ministry of Finance recognition of community food programs. Connect with us or with the Ministry of Finance for more details. The full explanation is here.
Access to fresh food is sorely needed in food distribution programs such as food banks, soup and community kitchens, and other programs. It's why we're calling for a sustainable fund for fresh food and the infrastructure to prepare it in the Food Nation platform. While the credit is a positive step, it shouldn't be seen as a substitute for deeper action. we believe in the need for fundamental changes in food system policy change and income fairness for all, so people do not have to rely on donations for food.
Small food entrepreneurs (and those thinking about the adventure) are encouraged to join us at this workshop to explore options and strategies for raising the funds to get your business going.
Successful and popular Toronto food entrepreneurs will share stories and approaches from their experience on a variety of financing strategies... You'll also have the opportunity to network with fellow entrepreneurs and discuss ideas, problems and collaborations.
- Christine Manning, Founder of Manning Canning
- Lesli Gaynor, Founder of Mitzi's
Space is limited so please register today. We welcome new and returning Jobstarter participants. Find more on Jobstarter and resources here.
Thanks to Jobstarter Champion: Tangerine
Food Forward is encouraging you to participate in a great new project around hospital food. (See some of our past work on hospital food in our blogs).
The University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto is looking to the wisdom of the crowd for ideas on how to better connect local Ontario food to their hospitals. The Department of Energy & Environment, a member of Sustain Ontario, has partnered with Nutrition Services to launch a new idea crowdsourcing project, “Talkin’ Local Food with UHN,” to enable a wide conversation among the UHN community – patients, staff, visitors, and the broader public – about refreshing the hospitals’ food services and culture with a local and sustainable focus.
Three challenges have been posted on the platform to guide the conversation. These questions are designed to tap into the experience of patients, staff and creative thinkers to hear their ideas that may otherwise stop at a lunch hour chat. From a UHN blog post:
- “What are your soothing foods when sick or injured? One of the challenges of serving food in Toronto hospital is the extreme diversity of food preferences and needs. Share your stories about your soothing food. Read more“
- “How might we change the way staff think of food in patient care? This is a biggie. We want to hear what it would take to raise the profile of hospital food, develop a food culture and help food be seen as part of recovery. Read more“
- “How might we use local food to generate revenue? Even though we acknowledge that local food brings opportunities for cost savings (waste reduction for example) we also recognize that we will need investments to make this viable in the long term. Let’s use our collective creativity to identify ways to generate money with local food. Read more.”
Learn how you can get involved and share your ideas...
Help us share and congratulate the 2014 #FoodIdol Winners online!
At Food Forward Turns Four, entrepreneurs Natalia “Cookie” Martinez, Evis Chirowamhangu, Jon Woodside and Carlos Flores shared this year’s Food Idol award for Breakout Food Activist. This award recognizes an individual whose action to change food policy has led him/her to stand up for food justice and good food policy change. This year’s award winners are small food businesses and food vendors whose joint presentation to City Council was part of a pivotal campaign to the achievement of Toronto’s new street food regulations.
The Sweet New Initiative award was presented to Young Somali Growers, an urban agriculture program developed this year by the Somali Immigrant Aid Organization (SIAO). Led by Tare Egbedi, this youth driven program established a community garden - the Weston King Neighbourhood Center’s Garden - in a disused parking lot, with only a shoestring budget, volunteer labour and mostly donated tools and supplies.
Michelle German was honoured as a Food Forward Honourary Lifetime Member, for her years of dedication and commitment to good food advocacy. A long-time food advocate at City Hall, German has served in the past as a board member at Food Forward and is outgoing chair of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council.
Ursula Conlon was given the Food Forward Outstanding Member Award. The pair was recognized for their instrumental role in establishing the Food Action Hub, as well as their individual contributions towards advancing Food Forward’s mission to create a better city through food.
Congraulations and THANK YOU to all of Toronto's food actionists!
Photos by Pat Anderson