food jobs


Local Food Act & good food jobs

Let's follow up on those World Food Day greetings below, to explore what's come of the Local Food Act. A pointed blog from our colleague Hayley Lapalme popped up quickly after the Premier's announcement to look at what's happened to the Act and to ask some key questions we must pose to MPPs. See Recess on the Local Food Act? (Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable).

Hayley shares my view that we've got more time to improve the Local Food Act by asking tough questions, and creating more dialogue and demands on government while the Legislature's on hold (which itself of course is a tough sell for many of us as democracy activists). This is particularly true because the Act will have to be re-introduced again in its entirety (see updates & explanations from TVO and The Star about the situation). This one was introduced just before the Legislature was prorogued, so it didn't get very far anyhow. A bill must pass three readings + committee meetings to become law - the Act had just passed first base.

What I'm saying is, for better or worse, it was still just a bill ( there a Canadian version of this??)

We're sitting in a time when good jobs are hard to access, causing poverty and social determinants of health to worsen. But we also have entrepreneurs clamoring to create opportunities in good food by growing businesses that are creating new systems of food production, distribution, and sales. You need only to look at our Business Hub to find Toronto examples which are largely sourcing from, and enriching our countryside, while providing good food in the City and region.

Burgeoning food business in Toronto -

So to Hayley's second question for MPPs. Why does this act leave out new opportunities for small-scale farmers, processors, and other businesses to make a good living and create more jobs? Food business incubators, canneries, community-based caterers, urban growers, chefs, tech developers, new markets, and non-profits like ours are working to make an impact in this work, but largely without support - and often enough with a lot of hassle - from government. A Local Food Act is a wonderful opportunity to build in smart regulations that support other scales of food and farming, and programs that level the playing field for those struggling to sell healthy green products to Ontarians in a highly subsidized food market.

Share this if you think its worth discussing, post a comment, and get ready to talk more on about what a Local Food Act could be.

- Darcy Higgins, Executive Director of Food Forward

Contact me at 


Call for nominations!

Food Forward Awards 2012

The Food Forward Awards celebrate outstanding contributions – among our volunteers, professionals, projects, and businesses – focused on food that is healthy, local, sustainable, ethically produced, and accessible for all. As the people’s voice for a better food system, we are asking you to help us identify new efforts and results that are especially notable for community recognition. Please see the call for nominations for our 2012 awards:

Nominations are invited in the following categories:

Breakout Food Activist Award – Recognizes an individual whose recent learning and understanding on food policy has led him/her to community organizing or standing up for food justice or good food policy at institutional, municipal, or other levels.

Spicy New Venture Award – 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.

Sweet New Initiative Award – For an organization, group, or partnership whose recent work has led to the development of an initiative contributing significantly to increase: good food, food justice, and/or community food security in Toronto neighbourhoods or communities.

Food Forward Outstanding Member Award – Recognizes the commitment and contributions of a Food Forward individual member towards our mission, by supporting the design and implementation of our projects, development, capacity, and/or outreach. Also considers independent work the individual has contributed to related good food projects or policies through education, advocacy, and making connections.

Criteria & Qualifications

Where applicable, we will be looking for good food work that is practical, visionary, and innovative.

We are considering work that puts a focus on food justice and/or good food (healthy, local, sustainable, ethically produced, and accessible for all). We also recognize contribution of efforts to good food jobs and economic development in Toronto.

Work should have begun or significantly carried out in the last two years.

We know that good food work and non-profit/for-profit lines are blurring across lines of innovation, so please apply to the category you feel your nominee fits best.

Nominators should not nominate themselves or a project they have had a significant role in organizing. Individuals may make more than one nomination and in any category. Decisions of the committee will be final.

Decision-making committee

Eric Wood (Fabarnak, Hawthorne Food and Drink), Catherine Mah (Food Policy Research Initiative CAMH, Dalla Lana School of Public Health University of Toronto), Vanessa Ling Yu (Food Forward, Bathurst-Finch Network Food Action Team), Suresh Doss (Spotlight Toronto, Ontario Food Trucks), Tzazná Miranda Leal (Justicia for Migrant Workers), Elizabeth Fraser (The Stop, Community Food Centres Canada)


Awards will be presented at the event, Pushing Forward: The 2012 Food Forward Awards and Second Anniversary Party, in Toronto on August 11. Prizes for awardees are to be confirmed. They’ll be delicious, practical, and include positive media/social media coverage for awardees.


Tell us briefly about the person or project and how they’ve been successful in their good food work, reflecting the specific and general awards criteria outlined above.

Deadline is by the end of the day, Friday, July 27, 2012.

Email this submission to:

Submission -Pushing Forward: The 2012 Food Forward Awards

Your name and email/phone contact:

Nominee name:

Description of nominee (up to 250 words):

Website/social media and email/phone contact for nominee: 


Learning about Toronto's street food & changing laws

Food Forward is incredibly lucky to be partnering with a number of individuals representing the diversity of Toronto street food, including existing street food vendors, start-up food vendors and event organizers, as well as dedicated activists, a lawyer, and a planner. Together we're working with Torontonians to make sure our politicians and bureaucrats are accountable and make positive change for diverse street food in Toronto and allow new jobs to flourish on our streets. 

This Thursday, the Licensing & Standards Committee will be voting on a City report that would finally allow street food vendors to prepare a diversity of foods in the City. There are many media stories about this including this one with Darcy Higgins' and Carly Dunster's thoughts, and we'd invite you to join us at the Committee meeting to help push food further forward.

We wanted to share with you some recent work of our partners. 

Take a look at this delicious blog by Kyla Zanardi to see what we did at the Street Food Block Party, see the vendors, and hear suppportive words from City Councillors that Darcy interviewed. 

Darcy Higgins (Food Forward), Councillor Mary Fragedakis (Ward 29, Toronto-Danforth) and Marianne Marooney (Executive Director of the Street Food Vendors Association)

Andrea Winkler, who recently returned from viewing street food and policies in action in Los Angeles has prepared this insightful video profiling Toronto street food vendors. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as we did. Please share! 


Event: My bad! Learning from failure in good food work

+ Foodie Drinks East-end Edition!

Working, volunteering or interested in local, sustainable, healthy, ethical food initiatives & businesses in the City? Come learn from our panel of Toronto food innovators. We all make mistakes, but do we learn from them? How can business and non-profit programs grow facing after strumbling blocks? What challenges face our sector? Come join the discussion with folks who've had plenty of success:

- Tony Sabherwal, Owner of Magic Oven

- Grace Yogaretnam, Co-Chair of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council

- Laura Reinsborough, Founder & Director of Not Far From The Tree

Sign-in at 7:00-7:15... Stay post-panel around 8:30 for Foodie Drinks, to mingle and learn about some initiatives and businesses in Beaches-East York and Toronto-Danforth. Join foodie Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon and others to learn more about what's happening and how to get involved. Let friends know you're coming by Tweeting with #FoodieDrinks and sharing this invitation. Always the best opportunity to connect. 

Thank you to the Big Carrot for their support of this event!

Place: Toronto Naval Club, 1910 Gerrard St. East, just south of Woodbine Station. Accessible space.

Time & Date: Tuesday, June 19, 7:00PM-10:00PM

Cost: $5 bucks for Food Forward members, $10 for guests, or $15+ to attend & become a Food Forward member! Free for Supporting Members/monthly donors. (Pay/register at the door or in advance)

Thx for the contribution - it helps put on this event and sustain our work.