August 2012


Volunteer positions

Join the Food Forward team. Let us know if you can help us expand our work for good food and good food jobs in Toronto...

Outreach and Web Communications

Role: Support Food Forward outreach in Toronto and connecting local events through web promotion and in-person attendance at events.

-Research and share Toronto good food events

-Promote Food Forward activity with the broader community

-Outreach and support Food Forward activities at local events

Skills to have and develop:  Web and google tools, social media, written and verbal communications, organizational, dynamic personality

Commitment: 2-4 hours/week, 2+ month commitment

Event Organizer

Role : Help us organize meaningful and impactful events for the local community.

-Support development and delivery of Food Forward public events

-Organization of logistics: event design, speakers, bookings, materials

-Support coordination of tasks and volunteers for events

Skills to have and develop:  Event planning, verbal communications, organizational skills

Commitment: 3-4 hours/week, 2+ month commitment

New Business Training Assistant

Role : Support the development of business training for new entrepreneurs developing sustainable food businesses.

-Coordination and logistics of training sessions in Toronto

-Support development of training materials and facilitated sessions for attendees

-Promote sessions and connect with attendees to gain feedback and lessons learned

Skills to have and develop:  Event planning, written and verbal communications, social media, research, small business 

Commitment: 3-5 hours/week throughout the Fall

Food For Ward Rep

Role : Be our rep in your ward to help connect, educate, and advocate for good food work in your area.

-Participate in local events and meetings as you’re able

-Support others in our network to connect the dots of local projects, businesses, and issues

-Support development of local resources and maps, and broader advocacy

Skills to have and develop:  written and verbal communications, organizational, email and google tools, curiousity, connector, and an interest in your community and a variety of good food work 

Commitment: 2 hours/week, 3+ month commitment 


Contact Darcy Higgins to discuss your interest in supporting our common goals. Email:


2012 Food Forward Awards Announced

The winners of the 2012 Food Forward Awards were announced on Saturday night at our Second Year Anniversary Party. We are humbled to share the results of our community nominations and our cross-section of Toronto good food decision-making committee, awarding those who have recently contributed some of the most practical, visionary, and innovative work to better Toronto's food system.

Darcy Higgins (Food Forward), with decision-making commitee members Eric Wood, Vanessa Ling Yu, and Tzazna Miranda Leal, with Susanna Redekop of the West End Food Co-op

Please help us congratulate them and share this news!

The winners and our remarks and links to more information about them: 

Food Forward Community Leader Award: Sue Sachs

Honourary New Venture Award: Andrew Richmond and La Carnita

Breakout Food Activist Award: Carly Dunster

Food Forward Oustanding Member Award: Elena Hall, Linda Swanston

Spicy New Venture Award: Len Senater and The Depanneur

Sweet New Initiative Award: West End Food Co-op

Thank you to our nominators, attendees and organizers for making this a success.


Breakout Food Activist Award: Carly Dunster

Recognizes an individual whose recent learning and understanding on food policy has led him/her to community organizing or standing up for food justice or good food policy at institutional, municipal, or other levels.

Carly Dunster is a lawyer like no other.

Putting her foot down one day and declaring herself a food lawyer took some guts. It was probably something she could have tookto market for corporations and get moving, but because of her passion for good food, she is here for all of us.

She has supported the little guys, the Street Food Vendors Association, for example, when hot dog sellers were being kicked out of their spots by the City. She helped make the Toronto Underground Market (TUM) happen with Hassel, and supported other members of ours.

She is always keen on doing more for food justice, but in supporting who she has, she has already taken a lead in this work.

Carly said of TUM, "It was that experience that opened my eyes to just how many individuals and organizations are clamouring to develop new and innovative ways to feed their communities, combat hunger, and shorten the distance between farm and plate. They have creative, dynamic ideas, and need to know how to work within the existing food legislation framework to execute those ideas."

And so in recognizing the political barriers, she has chosen to support those doing needed work to make bureaucracies navigable, and to change policies, like she is doing with the Toronto Street Food Project.

One of our Committee members called her his hero.

You can learn more about her work at Carly Dunster Law.


Food Forward Outstanding Member: Linda Swanston and Elena Hall

Recognizes the commitment and contributions of a Food Forward individual member towards our mission, by supporting the design and implementation of our projects, development, capacity, and/or outreach. Also considers independent work the individual has contributed to related good food projects or policies through education, advocacy, and making connections.

We have two selections who have both contributed immensely to Food Forward and to the broader community. In one short and action packed year, Elena Hall has visioned, planned, and broken ground for the first hospital food garden in Toronto.

Working in partnership with the Scadding Court Community Centre to secure a garden plot, Elena recruited over 20 volunteers to the Feed to Seed team and coordinates twice-weekly gardening sessions. Members from across the hospital community are involved, patients, staff, and survivors. The food is used in the ELLICSR kitchen for cooking demonstrations for community members touched by cancer, and the remainder of the harvest is donated to the Fort York Food Bank.

With an ambitious agenda to obtain onsite garden space and bring good fresh sustainable food into hospital kitchens across the University Health Network Elena is truly passionate in her commitment to good food in healthcare, organizing the Seed to Feed garden outside of her full-time role as a clinical study coordinator.

Elena came to Food Forward as a nutritionist interested in improving food, especially in her work at hospitals. She has been a committed volunteer with Food Forward, and especially in creating events, discussions, and connecting players to advocate and change food at hospitals. Using these connections, she created partnered with Scadding Court after a Foodie Drinks event, starting a unique hospital-community centre partnership to make things happen.

Elena has worked with our other awardee, Linda Swanston, whose early leadership within Food Forward brought the idea to lead our work on improving hospital food. Her work - solely volunteering - has pushed this agenda, writing blogs, hosting events, and getting media coverage in the City, and connecting players and moving things forward behind the scenes.

In addition to this, Linda has worked with us to prioritize a discussion of food justice to the forefront of the food movement in Toronto. After connecting on the need for discussion on food and racism, we soon connected with the Growing Food and Justice Initiative, where Linda spent a significant amount of work to support the group to accomplish its goals.

She has been a supporter of Food Forward since the beginning, and has brought critical feedback, guidance and action in our work. This includes advocacy and our efforts to reach out and grow the organization and the movement. And she’s been personally supportive of many of us. We would like to provide them with the Food Forward Oustanding Member Awards.

Check out some of our work on better food in health care and Linda's blogs.


Spicy New Venture Award: Len Senater and The Depanneur

For a food-related business or entrepreneur whose recent work has led to the development of a delicious venture contributing significantly to increase good food, food justice, and/or good food job expansion in one or more of Toronto neighbourhoods.

Len Senater followed his heart and translated his passion for food into the recent establishment of The Depanneur, a self-described place "where interesting food things happen."  

Located between Dovercourt and Dufferin on College Street, Len and his restaurant have played host to an endless variety of community food events such as the Rusholme Park Supper Club and casual, drop-in Tuesday dinners where you get whatever Len decides to cook.  

True to his roots in advertising, Len remains the ultimate collaborator and is committed to fostering a strong, local food community. On Friday nights, Len opens his kitchen to Toronto cooks who serve their own delectable creations to an excited and dedicated Depanneur clientele of all ages. Tasty, healthy prepared food products, organic milk, local butter and real farm fresh eggs are all available for home-based culinary adventures.

Len is committed to helping small food producers including another of his nominators, and of others in this room. He is always looking for new local food talents, to help them promote their businesses and their visions. His kitchen expansion and most other things about The Dep are going to keep help our businesses and our movement.

The Committee agreed he was committed to the community and to sustainability, and making a difference and wants to thank him for his work and support.

Learn more on Facebook and Twitter.


Sweet New Initiative Award: West End Food Co-op

For an organization, group, or partnership whose recent work has led to the development of an initiative contributing significantly to increase: good food, food justice, and/or community food security in Toronto neighbourhoods or communities.

The West End Food Co-Op is a multi-stakeholder co-operative that includes eaters, producers, workers, and community partners. Throughout their development they have been so much more to neighbourhood residents. Their nominee said they that they have been transforming their neighbourhood by motivating people to come out of their homes to shop together, learn together and invest in a 'more-than-a-food-store' vision with their own sweat, passion and money.

WEFC is about to open its doors to being a food shop, community kitchen, cannery, learning centre, and magnificent food hub. It is an insightful initiative that has put in so much work to show that small communities can have a say on where their food comes from and how it is distributed.

One of our panelists called the hub is both practical and visionary. We wish all success for this sustainable project and encourage everyone to become involved and support it, and we are looking to learn further from its challenges and successes.

Learn more about what's coming and how to support the West End Food Co-op.


Honourary New Venture Award: Andrew Richmond and La Carnita

Andrew Richmond and Amin Todai's concept of La Carnita was to marry their two passions: food & art. Initially it was a pop-up venture using social media channels to gain attention. On the day of each pop-up an announcement would be released on Twitter with the location. The food is always Mexican influenced & the art is done mostly by local artists. The structure of the pop-up was to sell limited edition art for $10 with a side of tacos.

After that, as many of you know, the idea spread to the Toronto Underground Market, and was certainly an inspiration for it. Its own event called UNO featuring art and food found a popularity of 5,000 attendees.. and within a year they’ve opened La Carnita the restaurant, employing 20 staff.

Our nominating committee members recognized the scope and impact of his work and we wanted to recognize what Andrew has done, now as Executive Chef at La Carnita, for a combination of street and pop-up food, arts, and food business in Toronto.

Please accept our congratulations and appreciation for Andrew's success.

More on La Carnita.



Food Forward Community Leader Award: Sue Sachs

As Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon said, "you are going to love Nutri Sue! She is a spectacular Locavore + Foodie who runs kids' workshops at Leslieville Market."

She volunteers there every Sunday since it opened last year and her passion and commitment to getting kids to appreciate and recognize real, good food is truly inspirational!

She connects the local to the global in her interactions with the younger and older generations, talking about how eating local is inextricably linked to the health of our selves, our families, communities, and the planet.

But for her, the most important is in the tasting! She does not let anyone leave her table before they try whatever food is being featured in its wonderfully-raw, nutrient-dense state! She has become a hallmark of the Leslieville Farmers' Market, where kids and parents alike come to learn, taste, and be inspired to think global and delight in the incomparable deliciousness of local!

Congratulations and thank you to Sue for her good work for the community.

Learn more about Sue's Nutritional Consulting and about the Leslieville Farmers' Market.