On May 5th, Food Forward celebrated Toronto’s first Food Justice Day with a reception at City Hall for councillors and good food advocates to celebrate the important work being done in Toronto. Councillors Cho, Colle, Cressy, DiCiano, Doucette, Filion, Fragedakis, McMahon and Mihevc were on hand to support the Food Nation platform and reaffirm the city’s commitment to ensuring that all Torontonians are able to overcome economic and racial inequalities, and access healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food.
FoodShare’s Nydia Dauphin and caterToronto’s Vanessa Ling Yu told us about the important food justice work they are doing, and offered some insight into where more effort is needed.
Food Forward would like to thank FoodShare, Toronto Food Policy Council, Malvern Action for Neighbourhood Change, 5N2 Soup Kitchens, the Aangen Community Centre, and many others for joining us; and caterToronto, Good Food for Good, Evelyn’s Crackers, and Building Roots for the delicious food!
- View the Food Justice Day proclamation, read on behalf of the mayor by Councillor Mihevc
- Review and endorse the Food Nation platform and our work over the last year and a half to push food forward
- View the Food Justice Committee's presentation for Food Justice Day explaining the rationale and need for more action on policies to address food access during this Council term
- Read the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council's endorsement of Food Nation
- Read Councillor McMahon's comments on Food Justice Day
Food Justice Proclamation
May 5, 2015
Speaking notes for Councillor McMahon
Welcome, introduction and thank you
- Thank you to everyone gathered, especially Food Forward for creating an opportunity to talk about food justice in Toronto
Why talk about food justice in Toronto?
- Communities across Toronto face unequal access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food.
- 12% of people in Toronto face food insecurity (Tarasuk 2014)
- Last year there were over 800,000 visits to food banks across Toronto and this number is increasing annually (Daily Bread Food Bank 2014)
- Unequal access to healthy food reflects both economic challenges as well as geographic challenges.
- Racialized communities across our City face additional barriers to accessing food, in particular Aboriginal and African Canadian communities (Tarasuk 2014).
- Some communities in Toronto face longer travel times to grocery stores, this access correlates with low income and unequal access to transportation and social services (Hertel et al, 2014; Toronto Public Health 2015).
Toronto's leadership on food policy
- Toronto's Food Charter signed in 2001, supports Canada's commitment to "the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger" (Toronto Food Charter 2010).
- The Toronto Food Policy Council and Food Strategy, working with community and City partners have done important work to improve food security in Toronto: mobile good food market, student nutrition program, community gardens and urban farms, farmers markets, diverse and thriving food retail sector all contribute to making Toronto a leader on this issue.
- Communities across Toronto are working hard on food justice. For example, the Black Creek Community Farm convenes a food justice committee in the Jane-Finch neighbourhood, community food programs in Malvern, Parkdale, and Rexdale bring people together to plan and implement food projects, indeed this work is happening all across the City
- There is more to be done, and we have to work together, collaboratively.
The City wants to partner with Toronto's food community to address food justice
- Some promising initiatives on the horizon. Food security is a pillar of the Mayor's Poverty Reduction Strategy. Through the Poverty Reduction Strategy and the City's Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy there will be opportunities further strengthen this work. Many of you have provided input into this process.
- The Toronto Agriculture Program is exploring access to new space for community gardening and urban farms – ie on Hydro corridors and in City Parks.
- Toronto Public Health and the TTC in partnership with FoodShare are launching a new mobile good food market
- Food justice is tied to many of our pressing priorities at the City of Toronto: secure employment, housing, and access to services.
- We will need to work collaboratively on these priorities to realize food justice in Toronto.
- Thank you for organizing this reception, thank you for attending.
Toronto’s first official Food Justice Day is almost here! Food justice means individuals and communities coming together to overcome economic and racial inequalities and access healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate food. Here you can find the city’s proclamation for Food Justice Day, May 5th. Toronto is reaffirming our commitment to food justice and the 5 planks of the Food Nation campaign:
1. Create healthy food neighbourhoods
2. Reduce poverty
3. Create good food jobs
4. Increase the availability of healthy food
5. Connect eaters and councillors
We’ll be celebrating with a reception at City Hall connecting our councillors with Torontonians and food organizations across the city including caterToronto, the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council, Malvern Action for Neighbourhood Change, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, and many more.
Help us celebrate by spreading the word! Share the news with your networks; tweet your support with #TOFJD15 and #FoodNationTO; and contact your councillor to tell them why food justice is important to you.
And don’t forget to join Food Nation here.
- Kyla Schwarz-Lam, Food Forward Food Justice Committee