Food Forward is excited to partner with ExtraShare to bring this simple but useful tool to Toronto's neighbourhoods. ExtraShare is a new website that helps communities connect through food.
- Items such as garden vegetables, space and knowledge can be shared or even traded
- All personal information is kept hidden, so meetings/transactions only take place if the sharer feels comfortable
Paolo Granelli, the founder of ExtraShare, got the idea last year when he grew too many zucchini in his garden. He still had leftovers after sharing with friends and family, and wondered why there were no websites offering to help.
The site is currently in 'BETA', meaning that new features are being implemented based on user feedback, and the site may go down from time to time while changes are being made. The ExtraShare software development team is currently working on beautifying the site and implementing a login and 'share' feed system, enabling users to create private sharing circles and easily broadcast availability to their friends.
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Toronto and its City Council are at a food movement crossroads. We have the choice, which I'm sure we'll take, to go the local, delicious route, and choose to create dynamic and innovative food culture by allowing diverse street food in the City.
After failed rules and programs, the time is right to allow entrepreneurs more room to create exciting dishes throughout the City and ending silly rules that prevent good things from happening.
That's why we're partnering with some of Toronto's street food stars to bring you the Toronto Street Food Project. This campaign launches a website which lets you send a letter and a tweet, quick & easy, to your Mayor and Councillor with a simple message: change the outdated rules - we've waited long enough!
As the letter says, Toronto's food sector provides 58,000 jobs. Street food has been cut back time and time again in Toronto, while a growing movement want to see good, safe and exciting food more available.
Please check the site, share it, and check back. Time and time again, people doing community food projects and businesses are hitting barriers at City Hall. Support the Toronto Street Food Project and let's get a start on making this a more food friendly City.
(Stay tuned for more from us on bringing this issue to City Hall.)
It is often impossible to get authentic ethnic cuisine that's also locally grown or organic, so my food purchases are a bit of a hodge-podge.
I have shopped at the Big Carrot for years. I also like to support Rowe Farms, though as a vegetarian, I can only enjoy a small portion of what they offer. One of the places that always makes me feel virtuous is the St. John's Bakery, which has delicious bread, much of it baked with locally-grown organic heritage flour. Not only is it yummy, but the bakery provides an opportunity for Toronto's homeless to learn a valued skill.
We live just a couple blocks away from East Chinatown, and I'm continually amazed at the incredible variety, economy and quality of produce available. In the mornings, I stand in awe as produce is neatly stacked at superhuman speed. I enjoy pretty much every ethnic restaurant - Ethiopian, Indian, Greek, Thai, Chinese, you name it.
One focus is insisting on a fair cost for the impacts of farming, both for food grown here and for food imports. There is an environmental cost to the use of pesticides and other agricultural toxins that filter through our soils and into our rivers and lakes. There is a cost to using emissions-intensive energy in farming. If food reflected its true cost, we would naturally see a shift to more energy efficient farming, local production and a reduction in pollutants.
Another focus is the diversification of local production. Ontario used to produce almost all the food that was grown here. Now we import most of what we eat and grow select crops for export. Meanwhile, Ontario's population now actually represents more global diversity. We should not only get back to growing the diversity of foods we used to have, we should encourage growing bok choy right here in Ontario.
Bahman Yazdanfar, Independent candidate
Q1. Definitely, anything that can promote a healthy life should be considered seriously and without political interference. Not only should local, affordable, and accessible produce be utilized, mandatory training and education should be provided for those who purchase and resell food to the public, as well as advertising through media for public awareness.
Income disparity is also central to issues of food insecurity. Study after study shows that health and poverty are inter-linked. The NDP`s commitment to lifting Canadians out of poverty, particularly children, seniors, and new immigrants, would help the most vulnerable and isolated afford healthy food. I think these structural issues are particularly the responsibility of the Federal Government, and the NDP will work to make these issues front and centre on the national stage.
The great thing about local food jobs is they provide a tangible and direct service while building community. I think that the more we can develop supports for community projects and small-scale entrepreneurs, the more successful these initiatives will be. On a business level, the NDP`s small business tax credit is one example. Successful businesses are also dependent on broader market development, ensuring that there are enough spaces for community residents to interact with different kinds of farmers and businesses. This ties in to transportation, having lots of foot traffic and making things easy and accessible. Personally, I think local food should be everywhere, not just at the farmer`s market once a week.
On a national level, we need to develop and implement an alternative and appropriate food safety regulatory regime for small, farm-gate operations. The Federal Government must ensure that we have a food safety regime that is thorough and protects the health of Canadians. But it shouldn’t be tailored to suit the needs of only the biggest producers. Smart regulations can keep our food safe while making room for small-scale local production and farm-gate sales.
Finally we need to ensure there are no impediments in international trade deals to promoting buy local initiatives at municipal or provincial levels. We want to ensure international commerce and investment is a motor for job growth in Canada, and does not handcuff the ability of municipalities or other levels of government from ensuring local spinoffs and benefits from Canadian or foreign investment.
In brief, I think we need a comprehensive approach to dealing with food issues. We need to create a dialogue between health, agriculture, social welfare, business and housing sectors, to name a few, to better combat the complex issues that make up problems like hunger in Canada. I have seen this referred to as a `joined-up` approach in documents like the People`s Food Policy. This is the direction I would advocate for.
While the direct regulation and funding of local food production and markets falls largely to the municipal and provincial level, the people of Toronto Danforth can count on me as a committed ally to supporting local food initiatives in our community and helping them to grow in the future. I will ensure that your voices are heard at the national table.
Food Forward had the pleasure of honouring Tracy Phillippi, Founder and past Chair of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council, at her last meeting with the Council last night. Tracy becomes Food Forward's first Honourary Lifetime Member, for her work in animating Toronto's good food scene, advocating for good food policy and bringing together the next generation of food actionists in Toronto, while being a model for other cities around the world.
Through the application of her graduate research, Tracy worked to form the TYFPC, providing a youth voice for food policy within Toronto City government. The TYFPC is now a thriving and dynamic organization that has played a key role in influencing policy, providing opportunities for young people, and developing the role of youth in the future of the food sector. Food Forward has had the opportunity to create several partnerships with the TYFPC as of late, including our joint Foodie Drinks - Student Edition.