Food Forward's Food Justice Committee took our 'illegal foor cart' and free fruit to St. James Town in October, sharing with residents outside of a recently closed grocery store in the neighbourhood.
Watch how it went on CTV!
The group were discussing the impacts of the closure with those who would usually buy from the store in Canada's densest neighbourhood. Some of the areas estiamted 25,000 residents told members that it is difficult to access healthy and affordable food - that the remaining grocer has started running out of produce.
Food Forward wants to see development that increases food access, not decreases. See more in our Building Roots project. We will host a workshop in St. James Town and other neighbourhoods to learn more about needs and share advocacy tools with residents to affect change in new development - see "Building Roots" under our projects tab above.
Dear City of Toronto Council and staff,
As owners of restaurants and foodservice business, we wish to add our voices to the public call for diverse street food in Toronto.
Toronto is one of the most significant food hubs in North America. We have been working hard to offer Torontonians with diverse and delicious food options, and the City is quickly becoming a great place for good food. Food processing has created over 58,000 jobs in Toronto. These are well-paid jobs primarily in small and medium sized enterprises. Our food events, markets, and restaurants match our cultural diversity. But our street food scene is lacking because the rules are holding back entrepreneurs.
Restaurants and street food businesses can live and work together in Toronto. It is happening in cities across the United States and Canada that have eased long-standing red tape on street food to create new jobs. In Toronto, street food carts, food pop-up vendors, and food trucks are already working with restaurants, farmers, bakers, and others. Street food is being prepared in restaurant kitchens. Food truck events are helping foodies find out about restaurants in neighbourhoods they hadn’t been to.
Many of us and our parents actually started out in street food. It often provides a stepping stone for entrepreneurs, especially those new to Canada to generate income, pay taxes, and eventually open a restaurant. In Toronto, several successful restaurants have opened in the last two years through street food and pop-up food entrepreneurs. Street food businesses may be at a smaller scale but are legitimate businesses, which generate income to the City by paying for space, licenses and events fees (though receiving few City services).
Toronto’s regulations should allow street food in private and public realm spaces, including the inner suburbs and downtown where a moratorium has prevented new food trucks and carts. In Los Angeles, food trucks have produced a guide to being good neighbours, and have essentially self-regulated by deciding not to park near restaurants with similar menus. Many cities have created pods for several street food operators in the public realm.
Vendors should be allowed to sell a broad range of diverse foods without excessive menu restrictions. Other issues such as unfair fees for hiring street food workers should be addressed.
The City of Toronto can help foster a diverse street food culture - rather than holding it back - with a significantly improved regulatory environment that brings a place for all types of food businesses. We can’t wait to work together with our colleagues for the opportunities this will provide for entrepreneurs, tourists, and our residents.
Matt Basile, Lisa Marie
Sang Kim, Yakitori Bar, Seoul Food Co, Windup Bird Cafe
Patrick McMurray, Starfish and Ceili Cottage
Len Senater, The Depanneur