economic development


Entrepreneur trainings

9:30am-12pm How to Start a Food Business from the City of Toronto Economic Development Division in partnership with Enterprise Toronto at North York Civic Centre, Lower Level, Committee Room 3, 5100 Yonge Street, Toronto

Got an idea about starting a food business? Want to learn more before you "venture" into a food business? Looking to find out how to search for a licensed industrial kitchen in Toronto, that can help you get your venture off the ground? Or just got a delicious recipe you eventually want to cook up into a money- making business? Then be sure to attend this valuable morning workshop on "How to Start a Food Business"

To Register Contact: Mr. Michael Wolfson at 416-392-3830 or email at mwolfso@toronto.caOnline Registration:

10-11:30am: Your Ideal Client: Who They Are, And How to Attract Them, Enterprise Toronto, Toronto City Hall 100 Queen St. West, 2nd Floor Committee Room 3
Do you know which of your clients get the most value out of your services? Why do some keep coming back while others complain and ask for a discount? If you don’t know who your ideal client is, you chase after the clients who are not the right fit for you, and neither you nor they will get the best value out of the relationship. In this informative and interactive seminar, you will learn how to recognize your ideal client and create an environment that attracts and retains them.
Presented by: Olga Brouckova, OB4innovation Inc
Register online: OR please leave us a message at (416) 395-7416
*Note we will not be returning calls unless there are cancellations
** Please check our website 24 hours before your seminar date for any room changes

6-8PM: Growing Business the Food Way - Innovating Start-ups from Across the Food System, Wilson Lounge at New College U of T, 40 Wilcocks St.

Join us for the next joint Toronto Youth Food Policy Council/TFPC Community Meeting and Panel on Food Startups in Toronto. When: December 3rd, 2012 at 6-8pm (with snacks starting at 5:30pm) Starting at 6 pm: Bryan Gilvesy of YU Ranch, keynote presentation, and time for a Q&A We have some great panelists involved in food businesses in Toronto that will be joining us for this event, like Matt Basile from Fidel Gastro, Seema Pabari from Tiffinday, Erica Lemieux from City Seed Farms, and Leila Timmins of GathererTO!

We hope you can join us! Facebook event: https://www.fac​​s/1301187571416​98

Tuesday December 4th

7PM-9PM: Foodie Drinks - Etobicoke edition! at The Longest Yard, 313 Bloor St West

Wednesday December 5th

10-11:30am: Managing Your Cash Flow, Enterprise Toronto, North York Civic Centre 5100 Yonge St. Lower Level Committee Room 3  
One of the main challenges for any small business owner is managing cash flow. Many businesses are actually profitable but poor cash flow chokes their ability to operate. In this "hands on" workshop we will walk you through real world examples and practical tips that will help you maximize your cash flow, minimize the need to borrow and ensure you are taking full advantage of the cash flow cycle.
Presented By: Sera, Schipani, TD Canada Trust, Small Business Banking
Register online: OR please leave us a message at (416) 395-7416
*Note we will not be returning calls unless there are cancellations
** Please check our website 24 hours before your seminar date for any room changes


Calling for unanimous support to GrowTO

Food Forward has called on councillors to fully endorse Scaling Up Urban Agriculture today as the Parks and Environment Committee discusses a report moved by Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon highlighting recommendations from the GrowTO Action Plan.

We have written in support of the recommmndations after a remarkable show of interest in urban agriculture this summer and increasing support over the last decade in the form of several reports, city strategies, community programs and new enterprises. We are looking forward to see the City will take another step forward in its support of an urban agriculture program and a co-ordinated office. 

As the number of Torontonians vulnerable to food insecurity increases due to the economic situation, urban agriculture can be part of a strategy for increasing access to good food, and create jobs in all parts of the City. 

To do this, we'll need to see an increase in support and leadership from the City to end any unnecessary hurdles faced by community members, agencies, or budding entrepreneurs. The City support within a number of divisions that exists has been helpful in producing results. Stumbling blocks are sometimes faced in Parks, due to lack of City staff resources, and will erode somewhat in 2013 due to the loss of the Live Green animator program. The recommendations also aim to review policy change to support land use and sale of food.

We hope for unanimous support and a strong call from the Committee to see a report return in good time that will bring enhanced City support and a clear, simple program to respond to Torontonians' action in the growing and distribution of food.

Find Councillor McMahon's letter and motion and the GrowTO Action Plan and its many more recommendations for Toronto's food and political community. And more here on our past urban ag work.


Drawing a line in our land

Celebrating Soupstock, we're remembering the impact of Foodstock, as well as thinking about the impact that a united food movement of the scale we're enjoying in Woodbine Park could make in creating the type of food system we envision.

Please enjoy and share this re-posted blog.


If there’s something big we learned from our province’s 30,000+ person contribution to World Food Day – FoodStock – it’s that Ontarians (both urban and rural folk) strongly value our farmland, local food jobs, and the delicious dishes we make from it all.

This shouldn’t be taken for granted. 

Not long ago, we didn’t have the type of food culture and economy we do today.  Indeed, we had many more farmers.  But it’s unlikely we would have found tens of thousands to make the trek out to a chilly farm to make a donation, enjoy good grub and take a stand on local food.

In the past, a proposal for a giant open-pit mine would have brought out environmentalists concerned about water quality and land degradation with locals worried about the threats to their community.  And while those from the affected area have again led the charge, they have today found their broadest support from a burgeoning movement who consider food reasons the primary ones in which to put their booted feet down.

And while foodies had an enjoyable protest demanding their voices be heard against an American hedge fund buying up land for the mega quarry, another type of foodie joined forces with Occupy to set up camp in Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor and many other cities for many of the same underlying reasons. 

The present system has led to the ability of corporations, speculators and hedge funds to make growing profits from higher food prices, land ownership and destruction of the commons, while farmland loss, levels of food bank use and atmospheric carbon continue to skyrocket.  As the food movement grows, links are being made among issues, from farm work to urban poverty, as are the connections within their common causes and potential solutions. 

Farmland protection is but one issue to which a busy movement must keep its attention focused.  The “stop the mega quarry” team has the strength behind it to be a winning one.  To halt the loss of farmland once and for all, this large group must also lend its attention to ongoing local battles , no matter the jurisdiction, and demand new plans to expand and strengthen the Greenbelt and make provincial legislation win ahead of gas plants, mines and sprawl.

But it also needs to create new winning alliances with farmers, farm workers and food processors to create policies that work for all different parts of the chain.  The Greenbelt, though good for the land, hasn’t brought much benefit in and of itself to the farmers.  It should also look to whom good food must feed and connect with those poorly nourished by the present food system.

A mix of good ideas (currently proposed by Sustain Ontario and its partners) could help farmers feed cities, while helping to counter the economic forces that make it valuable for farmers to sell their land.

A movement of tens of thousands will not only shift the political tide on an issue.  It can, if well-organized, demand the democratic and policy changes that will preserve farmland, and create programs to create good jobs (and to better the existing ones) that could feed local, sustainable Ontario food to all.

The cue has come from the food sovereignty and food democracy movements of the Global South, to take the food power back from the towers of greed, and into the hands of the people.

With newly elected governments, local and global sentiments for change and a food movement burgeoning onto the scene, there could not be a better time to draw a line in our land, raise our voice and say what we stand for.


Darcy Higgins is the Executive Director of Food Forward. Originally posted Oct 17, 2010. Join Food Forward today.


Spicy New Venture Award: Len Senater and The Depanneur

For a food-related business or entrepreneur whose recent work has led to the development of a delicious venture contributing significantly to increase good food, food justice, and/or good food job expansion in one or more of Toronto neighbourhoods.

Len Senater followed his heart and translated his passion for food into the recent establishment of The Depanneur, a self-described place "where interesting food things happen."  

Located between Dovercourt and Dufferin on College Street, Len and his restaurant have played host to an endless variety of community food events such as the Rusholme Park Supper Club and casual, drop-in Tuesday dinners where you get whatever Len decides to cook.  

True to his roots in advertising, Len remains the ultimate collaborator and is committed to fostering a strong, local food community. On Friday nights, Len opens his kitchen to Toronto cooks who serve their own delectable creations to an excited and dedicated Depanneur clientele of all ages. Tasty, healthy prepared food products, organic milk, local butter and real farm fresh eggs are all available for home-based culinary adventures.

Len is committed to helping small food producers including another of his nominators, and of others in this room. He is always looking for new local food talents, to help them promote their businesses and their visions. His kitchen expansion and most other things about The Dep are going to keep help our businesses and our movement.

The Committee agreed he was committed to the community and to sustainability, and making a difference and wants to thank him for his work and support.

Learn more on Facebook and Twitter.