Don't cut school breakfast programs
To the editor:
Canada is one of a few Western countries with no national school meal program.
Despite this, the Toronto Partners for Student Nutrition program, with funding from the province and the city, is able to help provide a healthy meal to 126,000 students, with a plan to get to 44,000 more.
The bulk of the funding for these programs comes through volunteer and neighbourhood fundraising, as well as contributions from parents.
Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown has recommended an increase in funding of just under $300,000 to extend this program to 30 more low-income school communities, where many children are at risk nutritionally.
Read more of Darcy's letter in Toronto Community News here .
A number of public consultations are being hosted on the City of Toronto's budget at our four civic centres in which our elected politicians will be listening to your concerns and wishes for the 2011 budget. A proposed budget has been produced by City staff, with overarching guidelines provided for its development by Mayor Ford.
A number of councillors are also hosting their own ward consultation meetings on the budget. These will help you understand the issues to better provide feedback to your councillor and at the broader consultations listed below. Social Planning Toronto is also organizing a forum to help organizations better understand the budget. Other budget committee meetings will be held this week and are open to the public but the presentations cannot be made. The TTC Commission will hold a special meeting to discuss its part of the budget.
Saturday, January 15
Sat Jan 15 2-4PM Ward 18, Councillor Bailao, Wallace-Emerson Dufferin and Dupont Centre
Monday, January 17
Ward 13, Councillor Doucette, Swansea Town Hall, 95 Lavinia Avenue
Social Planning Toronto Member Forum on the Budget, 519 Community Centre, 519 Church St. - Register here.
Wednesday, January 19
Council Chamber, North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge Street
Council Chamber, East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell Avenur
Thursday, January 20
Council Chamber, Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Drive
Council Chamber, York Civic Centre, 2700 Eglinton Avenue West
Saturday, January 22
Ward 20, 27, 28, Councillors Vaughan, McConnell, Wong-Tam, Council Chambers, 3rd floor City Hall, 100 Queen Street West
Thursday, February 19
Ward 22, Josh Matlow Community Town Hall, CNorth Toronto Memorial Community Centre, 200 Eglinton Ave West
To address the Budget Sub-Committees (civic centre meetings), please notify the City Clerk, Budget Committee, by calling 416-392-1032 or 416-397-7768, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 12 p.m. on January 18, 2011, indicating your preferred date and location. There will be a 5 minute time limit for each presentation.
To submit written comments to the Budget Sub-Committees, please send your letter to Merle MacDonald, City Clerk's Office, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, 10th floor, West Tower, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2, by e-mail email@example.com or fax 416-392-1879. Any comments received after the Sub-Committee and Budget Committee meetings will be processed to Council.
Everyone can make an difference in our food system and different folks can do different things. Here are some ideas:
1. Participate in a community garden. Winter's a good time to think about the gardens in your area or work with neighbours to plan a new one. I've spoken with many new City Councillors interested to help!
3. Buy local, sustainable. Local Food Plus wants this to be your New Year's Resolution, and you may be able to make the switch to buying $10/week. Try out some of Ontario's seasonal crops like root vegetables this winter which are hardy and often inexpensive.
4. Make a contribution to a local organization. January is the right time to sign up as a monthly contributor for Food Forward or to support another local cause.
5. Support Toronto's Food Strategy and policies that will provide better food access in Toronto by writing your Mayor and Councillor with some ideas or attend budget consultation to make sure food programs remain and grow. Check our policy priorities and contact us for help or ideas.
6. Make a new connection: if you're currently volunteering or working in agriculture, community kitchens, or buying from farmer's markets, make the connection to another link in the food system chain to learn and brainstorm.
7. Intern with a local farm or food co-op or other business to get your hands dirty with those shaping the new food economy.
8. Tweet away ... share links about global issues and local solutions on your social media accounts. We'll keep sharing lots @pushFoodForward and on Facebook (see top right for links).
9. Feed yourself right. Give up that resolution to diet that won't last more than a week and think about how to make healthy choices that will last through the year.
10. Spend time to enjoy food and consider its journey to your plate by hosting or participating in a potluck. It could be a simple event to start with a couple of friends. See how local food actionist Emily Van Halem does this, in her blog post at Feel Good Food.
11. Share this post with a friend and comment below. Let us know what you've been up to and how you're growing better food.
If you make a donation to Food Forward by this Friday, we will deliver a personalized holiday card in your honour along with some fresh, local produce, to the Mayor, or Councillor of your choice (perhaps the one in your ward?). Consider a monthly contribution to become a Supporter and help us share good food policy work in 2011.
Have a Councillor you want to thank for being a great food supporter, or is there one with whom you'd like to "plant a seed"? Just let us know and we'll deliver the cards by the end of the week.
"Like" this page to share below with friends on Facebook.