October 31 2012
by Xavier Lambert
Read en français dans LE MÉTROPOLITAIN about World Food Day Toronto and some of the work being done to address hunger and food access in Toronto and Regent Park.
Connect with good food work in Toronto-Centre through our Food For Ward Facebook group, and read more from the Christian Resource Centre on their work and the joint Regent Park Food Partnership. We agree with David Reycraft that government must act on hunger, and are excited to profile the work being done by the community.
« J’ai faim! », c’est en ces termes que Nick Saul de la banque alimentaire The Stop s’est adressé à son auditoire au centre Daniels Spectrum situé dans le quartier de Regent Park. Il reprenait les mots d’un jeune homme qu’il avait rencontré il y a peu de temps à un feu rouge à une intersection de la ville.
« Je n’oublierai jamais son regard intense », avouait le directeur.
La dizaine d’intervenants invités le soir du 16 octobre, date choisie par l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture comme étant la Journée mondiale de l’alimentation, à venir parler de la malnutrition à Toronto. Tous n’ont pas manqué de faire un constat inquiétant à propos du manque d’équité et d’accès à une alimentation saine pour beaucoup de nos concitoyens.
Les statistiques sont alarmantes quand on apprend que la moitié des Torontois n’ont pas un accès facile à des produits frais et sains pour des raisons financières, d’éloignement ou des problèmes de mobilité. Les banques alimentaires ont reçu un million de visites au cours des 12 derniers mois, signe annonciateur d’une situation qui s’empire.
« Nous aidons des personnes de plus en plus âgées ou de plus en plus jeunes », souligne David Reycraft, directeur du foyer pour sans-abri Dixon Hall. Son centre est justement situé près du quartier de Regent Park, un endroit qui reçoit un nombre important de francophones venus de pays africains comme le Congo ou le Burundi. Dans un excellent français, le directeur explique que d’autres arrivent à Toronto en suivant « les routes de la faim » qui prennent leur origine dans les Maritimes, le Québec ou bien le nord de l’Ontario. Le français figure au deuxième rang parmi les langues en croissance dans ce quartier désigné par la municipalité comme étant une zone prioritaire.
Celina Agaton, directrice de l’organisme Films That Move et organisatrice de l’événement, ainsi que Darcy Higgins de l’organisme Food Forward, constatent qu’il existe à Toronto des « déserts », zones dans lesquelles il n’y a pas de magasins de produits frais. Les résidents doivent alors se nourrir d’une alimentation de qualité inférieure. De graves problèmes de santé s’ensuivent, nombreux sont ceux qui par exemple souffrent du diabète.
Photo : Soupe de légumes avec de la truite servie dans une moitié de melon.
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 10, 2012) - More than half of Toronto residents live in "Food Deserts," neighbourhoods that do not have access to good quality and affordable food. On World Food Day, October 16, 2012, Toronto's community leaders are coming together at the Daniels Spectrum to celebrate a cross sector approach to achieving a sustainable local food system with good food for all.
Films that Move and Food Forward have partnered with the Centre for Social Innovation to raise awareness and action on the challenges with hunger and the way we grow, buy and learn about the food we eat.
"Many people think of hunger as a problem exclusive to other countries, but as we know, it's everywhere. Right here in Toronto, last year alone, there were a million visits to food banks," says UN World Food Programme National Ambassador Against Hunger George Stroumboulopoulos. "World Food Day helps us recognize the great work currently being done in schools, businesses and communities. It also reminds us that we have a long way to go, and need an integrated approach both locally and globally to address this widespread challenge."
World Food Day Toronto is a free event open to the public. Pay what you can donations will be accepted at the door to support Regent Park food initiatives and a Toronto training program for food entrepreneurs.
Speakers will chat briefly about their work, then join workshop sessions where attendees can learn more and share ideas. Speakers include David Reycraft, Regent Park Food Partnership and Dixon Hall; Chef Michael Stadtlander, Eigensinn Farm/Soupstock, Erin Shapero, Environmental Defence; Mark Cutrara, Cowbell; Seana Irvine, Evergreen; Suresh Doss, Food Truck Eats; Nick Saul, Cmmunity Food Centres Canada; Laura Rainsborough, Not Far from the Tree; Tzazna Miranda-Leal, Justicia for Migrant Workers.
Films That Move is a free social change film series that brings together people from across the sectors to collaborate in their communities.
Food Forward is a registered non-profit organization in Toronto that provides a people's voice for a better food system.
Green Thumbs Growing Kids hosted an event June 19th to launch their new provincial campaign, Imagine a Garden in Every School. The campaign aims to create broader community support and unite engaged communities for school food gardens “to share resources, ideas and experience, to work together on advocacy, and to make it easier for people across Ontario to start and maintain school food gardens.”
Dr. Bondar speaks to the crowd - by Orla Hegarty
The event itself featured Dr. Roberta Bondar as the keynote speaker. Dr. Bondar engaged the entire student population of Rose Avenue Public School at an assembly by telling jokes and making the connection between her career as the first neurologist in space and her scientific research into the importance of environmental stewardship. The event was attended by Minister of Education, Hon. Laurel Broten and by members of Manulife Financial who pledged $10 000 to creating school gardens. Food Forward, a supporter of this campaign, also had a number of members in attendance.
The assembly was followed by a colloquium featuring speakers from a variety of sectors in the broader food community, including David Crichton (Principal, Rose Avenue Public School), Richard Christie (Senior Manager, Sustainability Office, Toronto District School Board), Sunday Harrison (Director and Founder, Green Thumbs Growing Kids), Meredith Hayes (Schools Program and Student Nutrition Senior Manager, FoodShare), Susan Turner (Community Mission Specialist, Heart and Stroke Foundation), Dr. Roberta Bondar (The Roberta Bondar Foundation), Sarah Vogelzang (Nutrition Promotion Consultant, Toronto Public Health), and Ravenna Nuaimy-Barker (Director, Sustain Ontario).
Each speaker, in their own way, touched on the importance of active learning outside of the classroom and in teaching children about where their food comes from and how to grow it. They stressed that garden programming in schools is the best way to educate about healthy foods, which all children have the right to. In moving forward Dr. Bondar highlighted a report by the Working Group on Environmental Education of which she is a part, entitled, Shaping Our Schools, Shaping Our Future. The report is a key policy tool to help incorporate garden programming in Ontario schools. Ravenna Nuaimy-Barker highlighted work being done by the Children and Youth Food Network as part of an initiative of a group of organizations, including Sustain Ontario and FoodShare, providing moral support and inspiration and as a way to connect, share, and move forward. We should continue to support these two mechanisms towards creating gardens in schools across Ontario.
Educational school garden at the Winchester Street School - by Orla Hegarty
The event really highlighted all of the incredible work being done by Green Thumbs Growing Kids and the support that can be generated within the schools, the surrounding communities, and the broader good food community. There were certainly teachers and principals present at this event who were inspired by the stories they heard and who would love to help facilitate the expansion of this type of programming, not only in Toronto but across Ontario as well. Community support is instrumental in the creation and maintenance of school gardens. If you are interested in supporting this campaign find out if there is a school garden in your neighbourhood that you can help to support!
The excitement displayed by the Rose Avenue P.S. EcoTeam and the student Garden Researchers group was contagious and they were able to prove that children will take great pride in their garden if those resources are made available to them. With the support that Green Thumbs is receiving from the Heart and Stroke Foundation and all of these supporting organizations, the goal of this campaign will hopefully be realized!
Visit http://www.kidsgrowing.ca for more information on Green Thumbs Growing Kids and their campaign.
Jessica Reeve is presently working as the Ward Organizing Coordinator for Food Forward