community food projects


New opportunities popping up

Some cool opportunities have come up that we wanted to share with good food vendors and community organizations.

Register as a vendor for June's Toronto Food Fest. It's a multicultural show with a focus on featuring new chefs from Markham and Scarborough. You can also apply for a permanent spot with Market 707. Five new stalls are opening up! More info here. And if you want to vend at major City of Toronto organized events, check out their application form.

Check our new TOpopups for this and other upcoming events, and follow on Twitter @TOpopups.

We also know of another farmer's market and good food market looking for vendors/urban ag. Contact to inquire. Check out our new Food Entrepreneur Training Program page for links to more opportunties for vending, education, and training.

The Regent Park Food Partnership is inviting expressions of interest from resident groups and organizations for the development of community demonstration gardens, a community greenhouse, and a bake oven. Successful applicants would work with residents and the City of Toronto on its new park.

And a reminder that letters of interest for the Weston Family Parks Challenge fo rmajor projects are due April 5 to Park People.


North York's happening

 Food Forward’s Foodie Drinks - North York Edition! had a great turnout and mix that included local councillors, community activists, project managers, pop-up entrepreneurs, and foodies that were just simply interested. Like all Food Forward events, individuals were busy planting seeds by sharing ideas, inspiring news and progress on projects and programs focusing on skills and career development.  

Inspiring moments of the night included a presentation by Juneeja ofNorth York Harvest Food Bank who presented an overview of the new Oriole Food Space and their cooking workshops, variety of community-led food activities and food bank. The workshops function as a type of seminar allowing individuals to try new foods and people a chance to share their ethnic cuisines.  These workshops are imperative and Toronto needs more in our increasingly diverse communities! 

Councillor John Filion shared the exciting local garden possibilities at Avondale Park (located near Yonge St. and the 401) and Edithville Park (near Finch Avenue between Senlac and Beecroft). He also mentioned a St. Lawrence Market-style space in newly developed condominium spaces where food retail space will be run in co-operation by the city throughout the year.  He also mentioned work on to encourage temporary use of vacant spaces by food vendors, and a street food emphasis for this year's dynamic Cultura Festival in Mel Lastman Square.

North York Community House’s presentation was a shining moment for local food, as the organization’s social venture catering team Delightfully Yours presented on their growing numbers and support. This program seeks to help women from different cultural and social backgrounds in training for employment purposes while providing soft and hard business skills. Agency staff and program participants shared their testimonies in the value of not just being financial capable, but being a part of a community. Food Forward will be working with them and other businesses across the City this year to create a Community Based Catering Network for stronger economic outcomes.

Food Forward would like to share special thanks to the York University Faculty of Environmental Studies for sponsoring, Councilor John Filion, Councilor Shelley Carroll, and many other partners across North York. And a big thank you to all the organizations and foodies that came out. If you want more information on these organizations, please take a look at the list below and their respective links: 

North York Community House

Toronto Youth Food Policy Council

North York Harvest Food Bank 

Unison Health and Community Servcies

Bathurst-Finch Network Food Action Team

Dallington Park Pollinator Garden 

Parkview Neightbourhood Garden 

Future Watch

Big E’s Grinds 

P.S. If you’re a local food gardener and would like to add diversity in your garden, Future Watch is having a seed exchange on March 24th, 2013.

If you’re a thinker, scholar, writer than the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council’s call for Journal submission is for you.


Not Just Talk - getting to the roots on Feb16

Tanya Fields is a woman who inspires me these days.

Her work with the BLK ProjeK is the kind that empowers people and communities - in particular, underserved women of colour - to take back control of this broken food system and lead with the change they want to see.

It was because of this type of food movement work, most likely, that she was invited, and then uninvited to be a featured speaker at TedXManhattan: Changing the way we eat. Her organzing on good food and food jobs in the Bronx is bringing hundreds together while creating positive change. It shows the difference a person can make while giving it what you've got, and developing some skills and ideas with the community.

An open letter from Tanya to the organizers regarding the dis-invite was when the issue and Tanya's work came to my attention. An apology and reconcilitation note later came, with the hope of focusing on stronger attention to issues of food justice and race using a critical lense. A food movement that doesn't focus on realities of economies, poverty, racism, or privilege isn't much of a movement at all. 

Their vision for a way forward could in fact be a model for those working in Toronto as well:

"The consequences of and responses to this action have provided a powerful message about how fundamental issues of race, representation, cultural divide and fear affect our work and must be addressed, respectfully and honestly... We are determined to harness the power and commitment that was so clearly expressed and use it as fuel for positive solutions as we move forward."

After the invitation was revoked, Tanya went ahead to organize an event Not Just Talk: Food in the South Bronx, at the same time as TEDxManhattan. Organizers of each, however, will now be attending each others' events and sharing dialogue.

So here in Toronto, Lettuce Connect with the Academy of the Impossible is co-hosting a viewing party of the Ted talks on Saturday February 16th - there I'll say a few words on my learning on the ability to likewise expand food justice work in Toronto. Meanwhile, we have the Live Stream details from Tanya to view Not Just Talk from the winterty comfort of home. Both run all day, and it should be easy to catch some of either or both events.

Our food connections and diverse work need strong community roots. 

Check out the details of these events, as well as Canadian Organic Growers' conference the same day, and let's all have a weekend of practical learning together.

Darcy Higgins, Executive Director of Food Forward can be reached at

Learn about the Growing Food & Justice Initiative .


Twitter to Wynne: be the Food Premier!

Torontonians and Ontarians think making good food policy should be a priority of the new provincialgovernment. Kathleen Wynne has committed to serving as Minister of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs and to re-introducing a strengthened Local Food Act (see her letter to Food Forward). We're looking for strong policies that will create jobs in urban and rural Ontario while strengthening social justice. Such policies could include:

- supporting institutions with goals to and financial suppport to buy local and ecologically produced food

- reviewing and changing regulations that hinder small good food enterprises

- shifting funding to support community food programs

Here's what Ontario tweeps active in community food + food businesses are telling the new Preem:

@OntarioCulinary: @Kathleen_Wynne #ontag Good food policy is #1 + will create jobs/improve social justice! Looking 4wrd to working with you!

@TOundergroundmkt: Congratulations! Please support food policy & make it a priority to create jobs and improvei social justice in food industry

@Marianne_PTF: @Kathleen_Wynne #ontag please make it a priority to implement a food policy, creating jobs and improve social justice in Ontario..lead us.

@mabelsarnia: @Kathleen_Wynne Congrats! Looking forward to a new & Wynne- Improved Food Act. Also - Glad to see Lambton represented on transition team!

@GeorginaBencsik: Ditto @edibleTORONTO

@edibleTORONTO: Thrilled with what I've seen so far, @Kathleen_Wynne! Congrats on your win. Hope local-food initiatives, incl a real food policy, on agenda.

@LisaBorden: @Kathleen_Wynne a sustainable food policy needs to be a priority! there are lots of us to support you! #ontag

@freshcityfarms: @Kathleen_Wynne Congratulations! Come see us #farmthecity and meet our farmers to see how #urbanag is growing jobs in #Ontario#ontag.

@artsysoma: @Kathleen_Wynne congrats! A sustainable food policy is important for ON #ontag

@vanessalingyu: @kathleen_wynne congrats! great news 4 #Onpoli, #foodjustice, #ontagfood & farming cc: @SustainOntario, @pushfoodforward

@smartgaysian: Congratulations @Kathleen_Wynne! Her and I both know that improved food policy is a priority and develops social justice. @pushFoodForward

@LettuceConnect: Lettuce hope that @Kathleen_Wynne will turnip the beet for #foodON and #foodTO (as she told @pushFoodForward she would be

@foodgypsy: Congratulations @Kathleen_Wynne. Best of luck on good food policy which will lead to jobs and better social justice. Let's move forward

@GreenEarthTO: Congrads! @Kathleen_Wynne #ontag good food policy is a priority and will create jobs/improve social justice

@OccupyGardensTO: @Kathleen_Wynne Congrats! It's thyme 4 food justice! Kids hungry now! Imagine a Garden @ Every School and a Community Garden @ Queens Park!

@TeamHeadwaters: @Kathleen_Wynne Buy Ontario lettuce, taters & more if chosen Premier! Protect prime farmland & water. Grow jobs, too.#FoodAndWaterFirst