February 2011


Twitter didn’t cause the Egyptian revolution—bread did: This.org

By Dylan C. Robertson

Media determinists of all stripes have hailed the role of Twitter, Facebook and other social media in prompting the recent pan-Arab revolts. Though it could be argued that these revolts were bound to happen eventually, the catalyst isn’t likely social media — it’s food.

One of the main causes of the French Revolution was a combination of a mismanaged economy and climate change that resulted in soaring bread prices. The Egyptian uprisings have been compared to the French Revolution by many columnists (and the comparison dismissed, as well). On the same note, The Daily Telegraph declared the events in Tunisia and Egypt to be “food revolutions.”

The cost of food is on the rise, with devastating impacts across the Global South. At the start of a recent podcast episode, NPR’s Planet Money discussed the rising cost of wheat, which makes up roughly 70 percent of bread prices in Egypt but only two percent in the U.S.

Read more @ www.this.org


Our letter in Toronto newspapers

Don't cut school breakfast programs

To the editor:

Canada is one of a few Western countries with no national school meal program.

Despite this, the Toronto Partners for Student Nutrition program, with funding from the province and the city, is able to help provide a healthy meal to 126,000 students, with a plan to get to 44,000 more.

The bulk of the funding for these programs comes through volunteer and neighbourhood fundraising, as well as contributions from parents.

Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown has recommended an increase in funding of just under $300,000 to extend this program to 30 more low-income school communities, where many children are at risk nutritionally.

Read more of Darcy's letter in Toronto Community News here .


A Toronto voice for food

Watch Opal's story. Opal, a community food animator with FoodShare and previously a volunteer at The Stop, discusses her reasons for community gardening in Toronto. Access to healthy food is important for all of us, and projects that take this into consideration and their many workers and volunteers are benefiting Torontonians every day. Let's keep going.

Opal, a friend of Food Forward, shares the links between growing food, healthy food access, advocacy and social planning.

This digital story was developed by our partners in the FoodShed Project.

See more on CitizenShift


Pragmatic Bill C-474 and the EnviroPigTM

Support Bill C-474

On Wednesday February 9th, 2011, Canadian parliament will hold a debate on Bill C-474, a Private Members Bill that would require “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.” Bill C-474 arose as a result of the flax contamination crisis that began when genetically modified flaxseed, Triffid (not approved for human consumption), was discovered by the European Union, purchaser of 70% of Canada’s flax. The flax contamination crisis closed Canada’s flax export markets and drove flax prices down; and Canadian farmers still face the burden of paying for testing and clean-up. If the Bill is passed it would support Canadian farmers to help stop the production of genetically engineered wheat and alfalfa.

The Genetically Engineered (GE) Pig

The University of Guelph will profit financially from commercializing the hugely controversial GE pig trademarked “Enviropig,” a line of Yorkshire pigs with the capability to digest plant phosphorus more efficiently than ordinary unmodified pigs and to reduce phosphorous pollution and feed costs on farms. The GE pig could destroy the domestic and global markets for hog farmers. If the EnviropigTM is approved for consumption, it would open the market for more research and more GMO products. Are genetically modified products safe?

Join the Rally to stop the GM Pig
Wednesday, February 9, 12:30 - 1:00, The Cannon, University of Guelph

Free Transport from Toronto!

Catch the Big Carrot Bus! to Guelph. Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Join Members, Staff and Friends of the Big Carrot for the Pig Rally: Stop University of Guelph’s genetically modified “EnviropigTM”.

"The Big Carrot Natural Food Market has long opposed genetically engineered food crops. Now a genetically engineered pig from the University of Guelph could soon be approved! Members of Parliament will be visiting the UofG on Feb 9 to tour the biotech labs! Show our politicians and the Canadian public that we don't want GM pigs. To register our rejection of this monstrous application of technology we are chartering a bus to Guelph."

"The Big Carrot will provide return transport and distribute pig snout masks to all riders to wear at the Rally. The bus leaves at 9:30 am sharp (first come first seated!) on Wednesday February 9, 2011 and departs Guelph at 2:30. Free! Please Meet on Jackman Ave at the entrance to the parking lot.
Rally presented by: The Big Carrot, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, Guelph PIRG, National Farmers Union Ontario."

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

Bill C-474 Parliamentary Debate Transcript:

CBC News: Triffid Seed Threatens Flax Industry

STOP GMO Campaign: Bill C-474

The Big Carrot: Pig Rally Poster

EnviropigTM: The Other (Genetically Modified) white meat

EnviropigTM: Background


Event - The Future of the Food Sector

The food and agriculture sector from now on will look a lot different than it has for the last fifty years - and the young leaders in this forum are guiding the way.

Our speakers include those developing programs and policies that are changing the way we see the food system while doing work that will transform how we understand health, food access, community and sustainability. They will share a wealth of knowledge and ideas in leading-edge programs and policy frameworks being tried & tested in Toronto and Ontario universities, municipalities, non-profits and businesses.

Topics covered will include urban agriculture, local sustainable food procurement, food literacy and municipal policy. The forum will be a beneficial opportunity for anyone working or interested in food & agriculture, planning, health, environment and policy, whether in private enterprise, government or the citizen sector.

Refreshments (fair trade and local fare) will be provided.

Date/Time: Tuesday, February 22, 9:30-11:30AM
Location: Deer Park Library, room 204, 40 St. Clair Ave. East, Toronto

- Tracy Philippi, Chair, Toronto Youth Food Policy Council
- Jason Qu, Campus agriculture and food security initiatives, University of Toronto
- Jodi Callan, Senior Environmental Planner, City of Toronto
- Ian Hepburn-Aley, Urban Agriculture & Community Food Facilitator, FoodShare

Listen to Ian and Jason.

Cost: $35

Spots at discounted price are now taken. Thanks for your interest!

Registration: Register for this event by contributing $35 on our Get Involved page or by becoming a monthly Food Forward Supporter. Option to pay by cheque. Any questions, please write: darcy@pushfoodforward.com

This event is organized by and supports Food Forward



Food Forward has buttons. Pin one on to provide support for Toronto's food movement, to show unity among our issues and causes, and your care for urban agriculture, student nutrition and food access.

Order yours now by making a donation on our Get Involved page or send a couple bucks and a stamp to: Food Forward c/o Darcy Higgins, 803-37 Grosvenor St. Toronto, ON, M4Y 3G5 (Email us with any questions.)

I've been told all the cool kids (and grown-ups) are wearing them.