January 2012


Launching Food Forward's Mobile Website + Weekly Deal!

Just log in on your phone to the same old Food Forward url (www.pushfoodforward.com) and you'll be seeing something different.  With the help of Anytime Mobility, we've made our Online Toronto Food Hub mobile - with all the information you need on Toronto projects, businesses, events and advocacy right from your phone.  

Visit often to check our new feature - the #foodTO Weekly Deal - giving exclusive specials from good food businesses in Toronto.  Check now for a special deal from Culinarium, "Your Trusted Source for Local Food" in Toronto - 15% off any in store purchase of regulary priced products.  The deal goes all month.  You can also find $50 off a mobile website from Anytime Mobility.

"We are extremely excited to be working with Food Forward bescause of their cause in helping businesses and consumers understand where everyone's food is coming from," said Johnny Wu, Executive Director of Anytime Mobility in a release today.

We hope you'll find good use from the site and help us spread the word on our Weekly deal to save you & your friends money on healthy, local food.


Greening health care through the local economy

Even though we’ve been rather quiet, Food Forward has been working fervently on the Health Sector Food File. We got a few things planned and we’ll be launching them soon so stay tuned.

In the meantime we’re thrilled to promote one of our partners’ upcoming events. You may remember in an earlier blog I wrote about the amazing work of the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care (CCGHC). Last year they brought together all kinds of actors in the food chain to talk about how to innovate and improve patient and staff meals.  It was such an accomplishment to get all the major food service corporations around the table with the aim of improving patient experience! 

This year the CCGHC is working on involving more local and small-scale producers in hospital and health-sector procurement.  Next week they are hosting a workshop on “demystifying institutional procurement to re-build the system” in Burlington.  Food Forward will be there and we’re hoping that some of our members who are producers or processors may be interested in attending as well. 

Right now the event is looking for small producers and processors – local bakers, artisanal cheese makers, small-scale canning businesses - rather than interested observers.  But not to worry if you’re an enthusiastic public supporter, one of Food Forward’s current schemes is to hold a public event later this year to really showcase and celebrate all the changes underway in Toronto’s hospital kitchens.

There’s more information below and if you’re interested in registering just get in touch with Hayley Lapalme at hayley@greenhealthcare.ca.

An article in today’s Globe and Mail profiles a project that is successfully breaking down barriers for small processors to service hospitals.  Check out how Real Food For Real Kids is collaborating with Scarborough General Hospital to improve patient experience.

And as always if you want to get involved with Food Forward’s work in the Health Care Sector send us a note at linda@pushfoodforward.com.  We’d love to bring you up to speed!

Building a Local Food Culture: Demystifying Institutional Procurement to Re-Build the System

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM (ET)

Burlington, Ontario at the Royal Botanical Gardens

This workshop will bring members of the health care food value chain together to discuss how small and medium sized local food producers can access the institutional market.  Topics that will be covered include De-Mystifying Institutional Procurement: a discussion of RFPs and the food needs of health care as well as Closing the Supply-Demand Gap: how different members of the value chain have helped rebuild the middle

Cost: Free to Ontario farmers, producers, and processors

Local lunch provided

Agenda and Registration: please contact Hayley Lapalme at hayley@greenhealthcare.ca


Toronto won! From our newsletter...

I wasn't expecting to be writing you this morning, but good news deserves a quick note!

As you may have heard, Toronto City Council passed its budget, and in the process, reversed a significant number of proposed cuts to City programs.  Not just yesterday, but time after time over the last several months of the Core Service Review, funding and programs that were mulled and planned for cuts were saved.  These included food security related programs like urban agriculture, the Toronto Environment Office, neighbourhood Environment Days, community grants, student nutrition, small business development and festivals, the Riverdale Farm and fees at farmer's markets.  Yesterday, led by good food-friendly Councillors Colle, McMahon, Mihevc and others, additional funding was also restored to the Toronto Environment Office and Live Green Toronto community animators, as well as food security-related transit, child care and youth programs.

To think we've been in meetings and writing letters opposing these cuts since last summer... reviewing the above list shows the strength Torontonians have when we get involved and work together with neighbours and like-minded organizations. Thank you to all our members, supporters and partners for all the work you have done to keep Toronto healthy, compassionate and green.  I was lucky enough to share this congratulation on food security and related wins on CP24 last night.

Now is the right time to work on a positive and propositional agenda that builds a City with good food jobs and community food access, allowing ventures to flourish and a sustainable City to be revealed in every neighbourhood.
If you haven't joined us, please become a member, make a one-time or monthly donation, and get involved as we organize in wards throughout the City to make this vision possible.  It will certainly take good ideas, modest resources and more fun work! 

- Darcy Higgins, Executive Director

"So let us be loving, hopefuly and optimistic. And we''ll change the world." - Jack Layton

Click here to share this note with friends online



What's your twelfth?

St. James Town Good Food Project, September 2011

by Darcy Higgins

The last few years have seen Toronto, a City without the culinary tradition of other global cities, bringing good food to the forefront.  Our streets have seen witness to the rise of yum, with great restaurants, urban agriculture, food centres, neighbourhood dinners, farmer’s markets, community canning, and food boxes.

The past year was a particularly exciting year with campus, school and community food projects and micro-businesses filling gaps and needs throughout the City, and innovative events like Food Truck Eats, Scadding Court’s Live Local Marketplace, Leslieville’s Winter Food Mix, the Rusholme Park Supper Club, and the Toronto Underground Market.

The coming year will see a plethora of activity that keeps food climbing to the centre of Torontonians’ desires for wellness, sustainability, equity and new jobs.  Here’s a head’s up on 12 changes, trends and happenings to watch and participate in.

Street food  - After a breakthrough year for Toronto street food, 2012 has all the ingredients to really get things going.  Despite setbacks with vendors in some neighbourhoods, entrepreneurs like Suresh Doss and Marianne Moroney aren’t letting barriers get in their way.  City Council’s new mix of lefties keen on health and justice, conservatives that want bureaucracy out the door, and a new group of centrist foodies could make street food a plan that works.  With many advocate eaters in public and on Council, watch for the streets to finally heat up.

The suburbs – No, The Arcade Fire’s Grammy win of the same name was last year.  2012 is all about the exciting food projects bubbling up across the City, from Scarborough and North York, South Etobicoke and The Beaches.  Soon, few parts of the City will be left untouched. The good eats already available in the ‘burbs may also get the attention they deserve.

Backyard hens – With much back and forth behind the scenes over 2011, a backyard chicken allowance will soon be debated by Council.  Popular throughout the world for fresh eggs, many Torontonians have desired the ability to keep a couple of their own for a more healthy and ethical source of protein.  Expect them to share this view with their councillors.

Read more: http://www.womenspost.ca/articles/politics/eleven-food-trends-2012