by-laws

Mar
31

Letter to City Council on street food decision

As residents of Toronto who are founders of new organizations, small businesses and non-profits involved in the City’s growing food movement, we want to write in support of opening up Toronto’s street food. We are some of the little guys in food doing new things, and helping others to start small businesses and create opportunities


We've often seen entrepreneurs face City rules that hinder rather than help us to create opportunities and jobs. That’s why it is exciting to see new street food policies that would finally harmonize by-laws across the City to allow for easier access to sell diverse food. Until now, there’s been nothing but red tape.

 

We hope to see policies that allow new street food adopted at this week’s Council meeting based on the street food study approved at Licensing and Standards Committee. But we have two concerns:


A) The proposals keep a moratorium on any new food carts downtown, and B) they allow a single complaint to immediately deny a new food truck or cart, with appeals going to Community Council.

 

Many of the new vendors we work with won’t be in a place to spend tens of thousands on a food truck. Meanwhile, residents, workers and tourists downtown want opportunities to try diverse foods, more than hot dogs, on the street. Torontonians are making incredible food. Young people and new Canadians should have the opportunity to start with a business with a cart and provide good food at good prices.

 

Since new trucks and carts already have to be a significant distance from restaurants, there should be a clear process for them that doesn’t lead to denial of approval after one objection. The proposed process with a denial being sent to appeal at community council would create time and headaches for everyone.

 

Therefore, we are asking that councillors amend the staff report as follows:

A)   11. That City Council lift the moratorium on R53 Sidewalk Vending Permits for all food vendors in wards 20, 27 and 28.That in these wards the City allow up to 20 new vendor permits to be issued for the 2014 season.

B)   Chapter 740, Street Vending - Article II and Article III

That a notification of objection does not lead to a refusal of the application by the Executive Director. That Licensing and Standards will devise a process with clear and reasonable grounds for denial of permits that reflects issues of space, mobility, sanitation and related issues that can be studied by staff and reported to the applicant and objector, with opportunity for dialogue, amendments and an appeal process.


Thank you for hearing our voice on this issue. Please feel free to contact us with any questions on the matter, or ideas to create a better City through food.


Sincerely,


Hassel Aviles, Founder, Toronto Underground Market

Hillary Connolly, Founder, Food/Craft

Sang Kim, Founder, Yakitori Bar and Seoul Food Co. and Windup Bird Cafe

Evis Chirowamhangu, Founder, Mnandi Pies

Vanessa Yu, Founder, FoodSpokes and CaterToronto

Paola Solorzano, Co-Founder, Santo Pecado

Adriana Pelayo Rubio, Co-Founder, Santo Pecado

Jonathan Mikhail, Co-Founder, Fourcorners Culinary Concourse Inc.

Catherine Carriere, Co-Founder, Fourcorners Culinary Concourse Inc.

Henry Faber, Co-Founder, Bento Miso

Jennie Faber, Co-Founder, Bento Miso

Darcy Higgins, Founder, Food Forward

May
16

Our fruit stands up to authority

Wednesday was a busy day with Food Forward members setting up a simple food cart as an example of something common in other cities but not allowed here.

The City told media that its report on street food would now in come in Spring 2014. The report was ordered by City Council for Fall of 2011. However, staff and councillors are working on a pilot for this summer under existing regulations.

See the previous blog below to email your councillor to ask for action. Join our CSA to help us keep advocating.

Media attention:

The Star: Toronto food cart fight (front page GTA)

CTV Toronto: Adding healthy food to curbside fare live at noon, and evening news

Toronto Sun: Illegal food cart protest to hit City Hall and Toronto's street food by-laws protested

CBC Toronto News at 6: Street food fight

24 hrs (front page)

Toronto Metro: Sweet! Free fruit for all has passerby stoked

NewsTalk 1010: Illegal fruit stand used to push for better street food

National Post: Advocacy group hands out fruit in front of City Hall to protest limits on Toronto food trucks

CBCnews: Group wants city to approve more diverse food carts

CP24

CBC Radio

Global News Toronto

CP24

AM640

CBC Here and Now (interview Darcy Higgins)

Radio-Canada Champ Libre (interview Sasha McNicoll)

NewsTalk 1010 Jim Richards Show (interview Darcy Higgins)

 

May
3

Are we ready for street food YET?

 

Torontonians lining up for street food in Grange Park at the Pop-Up Picnic

Thousands of Torontonians wrote city councillors a year ago to ask them to allow diverse street food to be allowed in Toronto. While the City allowed existing hot dog vendors to expand their menus, new carts and trucks are still not allowed to sell outside of event permits, and existing ones are facing all sorts of extra rules and costs.

A City Committee told us and the Toronto Street Food Project to be patient after we offered a few practical changes that would have allowed food on our streets last summer. They said a report to change policies was due in November, but nothing has come. While we realize staff may be busy, these changes can't draw on forever. Will entrepreneurs and eaters miss out on another summer? 

Please e-mail your councillor again (with your address) to simply ask what they've done to legalize street food, and ask if we can't work together to make something happen this summer to animate our sidewalks, streets, and parks. Our friends at Cycle Toronto have a nice guide of your councillors' contacts and to find your ward: http://cycleto.ca/e-mail-your-councillor

Let us know what they say: info@pushfoodforward.com

Jun
28

Street Food@City Hall - Food Forward & Toronto Street Food Project in the news

Toronto gourmet food trucks stall – The Star

Street food advocate Darcy Higgins told reporters that food trucks co-exist with restaurants in other centres.

“I just want to sell sandwiches,” said Matthew Basile, whose Fidel Gastro’s Cuban sandwich truck doesn’t have a permanent location.

Committee votes to send Street Food Project recommendations to Director of Licensing 

T.O. streets getting food aplenty – The Sun

Darcy Higgins, the executive director of Food Forward, said they were happy to see changes being made for existing food vendors.

Councillor Josh Colle - who has been pushing for the city to address red tape surrounding food trucks - said the ongoing delay will likely mean food trucks miss out on two seasons of “prime business”.

Committee adopts broader menu for hot dog carts, delays better food truck rules – Openfile.ca

Darcy Higgins, representing the group PushFoodForward, had asked the committee to consider three recommendations for immediate action today (which would have been passed at the next council meeting in early July).

Higgins was disappointed in the committee's decision. "We hoped we could move further, obviously," he said, though he was happy for the expanded options for hot dog carts—and Toronto finally catching up to changes in the rules that Ontario made in 2007.

City not doing enough to quell our appetite for street food - National Post

“I will be operating out of a food truck within the next six months,” he vows. But Mr. Robertson tells me there is no public or private land in central Toronto zoned to permit Mr. Basile’s truck.

Darcy Higgins of the group Food Forward suggested that the city “allow refreshment vehicles and food vendors to vend temporarily in commercial parking lots for a period of up to four hours;” councillors sent that back to staff for study.

A Truckin' Good Summer: Toronto Food Trucks? Truck Yeah! - Toronto Standard

Suresh Doss: Food truck hubs in designated areas or parks can generate revenue for the city. The containers (such as the ones at Scadding Court) can be a platform for indie food entrepreneurs that don't have the money for a food truck, but want to test their food ideas.

Suresh Doss: I would like to see the City of Toronto work towards street food installations where we can consider restaurants, popups, and food trucks.