City Council has just voted to allow diverse street food in a number of ways.
A big THANK YOU to all Torontonians who have responded to our requests to contact your councillors over the years and share opportunities for good food.
The decision is a new start... but we've come very far after working on this issue for nearly three years.
Though we would have liked to see more support for new food vendors, we were pleased a motion passed responding to our joint request this week that street food applications not be denied because of a single objection.
A food cart in Lawrence Heights? A food truck on a Queen St lot? A truck with produce and ready to eat lunches in the burbs? Now permitted.
If you're looking to start a street food business for 2014 - now's the time - contact us (email@example.com) so we can help you figure out the options and push food forward together!
What’s changed as of today and recent decisions
+ A new by-law for the entire City, finally allowing carts and trucks to be legal in many parts of the City - removes by-laws that banned street food from places like Scarborough, Etobicoke and much more
+ New food carts can apply for spots anywhere in the City except for three most downtown wards and can sell a range of foods
+ Food trucks allowed to apply anywhere in the City, with a number of exceptions, particularly not within 50m distance from a restaurant
+ Carts and trucks now allowed in private parking lots, as per agreements with the landowners - big opportunity!
+ Carts and trucks may be allowed in parks as per agreements with Parks or other City spaces
+ Likely more freedom for alternative types of vendors like mobile produce trucks
Food Forward’s street food timeline:
Thanks on getting this going is owed to many advocates, councillors and City staff!
Here's our timeline of advocacy and results on street food.
June 2011 – City Council kills A La Cart program, staff group forms to create new street food proposals (to report before the end of 2011).
October 2011 – Food Forward hosts town hall on food jobs bringing street food leaders together for the first time – leads to front page Toronto Star article on mobile produce vending
March 2012 – Town hall panelists and others launch the Toronto Street Food Project calling to allow diverse street food – Torontonians react with thousands of letters and tweets to councillors asking for street food. Street Food Block Party advocates for street food with many councillors attending.
June 2012 – Staff update councillors on planning. Councillors hear recommendations from Toronto Street Food Project moved by Darcy Higgins to eliminate unfair street food employee fees and allow for food trucks and carts in private lots - Councillors vote for a report back on our motion.
Expanded menus legalized for existing hot dog vendors. (Final street food decisions to be due in November 2012)
May 2013 - Report delayed again, Food Forward launches illegal fruit stand in front of City Hall, bringing front page attention back to the issue.
July 2013 - Councillors work with several food trucks, organizers, Food Forward and Parks staff to allow food trucks in some City Parks.
November 2013 - City staff get back on track with consultations and study on street food, and councillors vote to remove unfair fees for employees of street food carts and trucks.
April 2013 - Final debate on street food leaves many restrictions on trucks and no carts downtown, but finally passes comprehensive new by-law to allowing trucks and carts around the City.
Environmental motions and future reviews passed, along with a motion prompted by Food Forward and our members that eliminates automatic immediate rejection of food truck zones from a single objection.
As residents of Toronto who are founders of new organizations, small businesses and non-profits involved in the City’s growing food movement, we want to write in support of opening up Toronto’s street food. We are some of the little guys in food doing new things, and helping others to start small businesses and create opportunities
We've often seen entrepreneurs face City rules that hinder rather than help us to create opportunities and jobs. That’s why it is exciting to see new street food policies that would finally harmonize by-laws across the City to allow for easier access to sell diverse food. Until now, there’s been nothing but red tape.
We hope to see policies that allow new street food adopted at this week’s Council meeting based on the street food study approved at Licensing and Standards Committee. But we have two concerns:
A) The proposals keep a moratorium on any new food carts downtown, and B) they allow a single complaint to immediately deny a new food truck or cart, with appeals going to Community Council.
Many of the new vendors we work with won’t be in a place to spend tens of thousands on a food truck. Meanwhile, residents, workers and tourists downtown want opportunities to try diverse foods, more than hot dogs, on the street. Torontonians are making incredible food. Young people and new Canadians should have the opportunity to start with a business with a cart and provide good food at good prices.
Since new trucks and carts already have to be a significant distance from restaurants, there should be a clear process for them that doesn’t lead to denial of approval after one objection. The proposed process with a denial being sent to appeal at community council would create time and headaches for everyone.
Therefore, we are asking that councillors amend the staff report as follows:
A) 11. That City Council lift the moratorium on R53 Sidewalk Vending Permits for all food vendors in wards 20, 27 and 28.That in these wards the City allow up to 20 new vendor permits to be issued for the 2014 season.
B) Chapter 740, Street Vending - Article II and Article III
That a notification of objection does not lead to a refusal of the application by the Executive Director. That Licensing and Standards will devise a process with clear and reasonable grounds for denial of permits that reflects issues of space, mobility, sanitation and related issues that can be studied by staff and reported to the applicant and objector, with opportunity for dialogue, amendments and an appeal process.
Thank you for hearing our voice on this issue. Please feel free to contact us with any questions on the matter, or ideas to create a better City through food.
Hassel Aviles, Founder, Toronto Underground Market
Hillary Connolly, Founder, Food/Craft
Sang Kim, Founder, Yakitori Bar and Seoul Food Co. and Windup Bird Cafe
Evis Chirowamhangu, Founder, Mnandi Pies
Vanessa Yu, Founder, FoodSpokes and CaterToronto
Paola Solorzano, Co-Founder, Santo Pecado
Adriana Pelayo Rubio, Co-Founder, Santo Pecado
Jonathan Mikhail, Co-Founder, Fourcorners Culinary Concourse Inc.
Catherine Carriere, Co-Founder, Fourcorners Culinary Concourse Inc.
Henry Faber, Co-Founder, Bento Miso
Jennie Faber, Co-Founder, Bento Miso
Darcy Higgins, Founder, Food Forward
Food Forward, The Toronto Youth Food Policy Council and Building Roots presents:
Advocating For Good Food in Your Community
What: St. James Town and area residents will learn how the development process works, how to communicate with city councillors and planners which will enable you to grow, cook, buy and sell food in your neighbourhood.
When: Friday March 28, 6-8 pm
Where: Food Forward centre, 2 Homewood Ave (north side of Carlton St.)
Please register or ask questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-459-9975. Only 20 spots available.
Foster relationships to create gardens, kitchens, food stores, farmer’s markets and community food hubs in your neighbourhood.
Refreshments will be served.
This is a free workshop. Please pass this along to anyone who would be interested.
Thank you to the St. James Town Youth Council
This project was made possible through funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Food Forward members are offering their diverse skillset in our new centre's Foodstarter series.
If you’re not down with dairy or you just want more variety in your milklife, join us for this fun and tasty demo on making MILK out of NUTS and SEEDS.
You’ll learn how to make:
● The queen of nutmilks, ALMOND milk
● creamy and smooth HEMP milk
● rich and frothy CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT milk
We’ll talk about different types of nut milks, budgetfriendly options, storage considerations, and what to do with all that leftover nutmeal!
Hosted by Hillary Connolly of Food/Craft
COST OF WORKSHOP is $15 (a sliding scale is available, please email for more information) . Proceeds go towards supporting the Food Forward Centre.
We have two easy and convenient ways TO REGISTER:
1. You can RSVP through email and then just pay in cash on the evening of the workshop when you show up.
2. You can register and pay in advance , directly online at: