food jobs


Growing out: sharing skills for success for your food business

Being an entrepreneur or working for a small business usually means having to learn quite a bit about a lot of things. 

This workshop will help you develop some of the skills you’ll need to take your good food business to the next level or start off on the right foot... with specific strategies from people with experience to help you reach out and grow your food venture, no matter what type.  Learn, discuss, ask questions and network.

 - How do I market my business in a sea of “green”? 

- What food business regulations do I need to be aware of so I don’t get stuck?

- Who are my customers and how can I best reach them online?


Speakers and workshops:

Carly Dunster of Carly Dunster Law provides legal advice and consulting services to food entrepreneurs, food initiatives, and restaurant start-ups. Her aim is also to act as an advocate for small food producers, local farmers, and those working towards building a healthier and more innovative food sector. more:

Eric Wood is Executive Chef at FABARNAK Restaurant and Catering, and Director, Food services and Parnership development at The 519 Church St Community Centre.  He has been a food columnist in several publications, a Mentor for young chefs, a restaurant consultant, a judge in skills Canada competitions and Executive Chef doing local, sustainable food across the country, more:

Darcy Higgins is the founding Executive Director of Food Forward.  His advocacy and writing on sustainability issues has for several years included food policy and projects.  At Food Forward he supports area food entrepreneurs and promotes good food jobs policy.  He manages social media for Food Forward, has run several successful campaigns and consults for small business and non-profits. more: 

"Growing out" continues our series of events on promoting good food jobs and ensuring practical advice and interactive sessions to support Toronto area social entrepreneurs focused in food and related activities.


Wednesday, November 16, 4:00-7:00PM

Downtown, TBA

Event price: a donation to support Food Forward’s work and cover event planning costs...

$35 for Food Forward members and member businesses; $40 for non-members; $10 for supporting members (monthly donors).


Go ahead – our previous events have filled up quickly!

Register for this event by signing on our Get Involved page and type in the amount you are paying in the “other amount” box - our form allows you to register and pay online or mail a cheque.  Anyone with questions, please write to

Thanks to The 519 for their support.  Join us right after to continue the discussion and network at our Foodie Drinks at FABARNAK, in the house!


Have a say on Toronto's food scene

Since my last post in June on the City's hope for a street food recovery, the temporary Street Food Working Group (see their Terms of Reference) has been quietly working away on recommendations for City Council which will soon be ready.  They met today.  See this article in CanCulture magazine for more on what's up.

With Food Forward's mission to make the people's voice heard at City Hall in Toronto food system issues, we wanted to update you to let you know that if you have ideas on the future of Toronto street food & city regulations, you can have a say.  The same mission is also why we're inviting you to an event covering street food & other eats, on the future of exciting new food business in the City, and how we can make an impact.

We are pleased to be hosting a Town hall on Unlocking Toronto's future good food jobs. Hear from prominent Torontonians from across innovative food sectors, those working on ventures and policy that are changing the face of the City.  

More details or RSVP on our Facebook event or our TO Events Hub.

Contact me if you are interested in making recommendations to the City through the Working Group and I will help share the process:  It is important that the future system be accessible in many ways to those wanting to start a new food business anywhere in Toronto, and encourages healthy, diverse, sustainable food - but not in a cumbersome way.  Perhaps we can share this and other messages together.


Why We're Voting ON Good Food Jobs

Food Forward has been playing a big role in Vote ON Food and Farming, the provincial campaign led by Sustain Ontario to raise the profile of food and farming, by engaging residents and candidates in Toronto and across the province. We believe that good food has the power to make change. Please visit the website to pledge to make food and farming an election issue, and send a note to your candidates.

Volunteers are out at farmer's markets, festivals and all-candidate's meetings and many folks are involved in campaigns for candidates they believe will make good food change. Let us know if you'd like to get involved - email

As FarmStart's Christie Young describes here, a new food economy that supports young farmers and food businesses can happen with a little more support, with a level-playing field for new, small and ecological farmers and food enterprises. Let's raise this vision of a stronger local economy with our candidates and get some commitments for change. Some parties are already discussing these issues (see for their platforms) and we need to see them implement action in office.

Vote for food and farming October 6.


One year of good food organizers

Food Forward's team benefits from some of the best folks in the City giving of their time to support our movement. For our First Anniversary, we'd like to share profiles of our key volunteers with their experiences and skills that may go on to support other work. These folks will go far, making a difference in good food work.

- Darcy Higgins, Executive Director

Vanessa Ling Yu

Something you've enjoyed working on for Food Forward:

- Organizing and facilitating dialogue about race and food justice.
- Outreach and education at various events

Skills or experiences you have:

- Workshop development - growing food, cooking/preservation skills,
- Restaurant consultation - business planning, green kitchen/service programming and training, local and seasonal menu planning/ingredient sourcing
- Proposal and research development
- Stakeholder engagement and public/spoke speaking
- Strategic planning and organizational development
- Health Promotion consultation - program and evaluation development and - implementation
- Writing and Editing - grad/prof applications, funding proposals, academic/popular articles, professional reports, etc.

What could you offer in this sector?

- Research and Consultation for any of the above.

Linda Swanston

Something you've enjoyed working on for Food Forward:

Connecting people passionate about improving food in the health sector from farmers to front-line hospital staff has been incredibly enjoyable and inspiring. The innovative and creative approaches different institutions are adopting to create tastier, healthier meals for hospital patients that also support sustainable local food economies keeps me motivated to push for change. Blogging, event organizing, social mapping and research are all ingredients in the recipe!

Skills or experiences you have:

- Research
- Writing
- Editing
- Project Management

What could you offer in this sector?

I'd love to connect with anyone who needs research, writing, or event organizing support in their quest for environmental or social change. Also happy to lend a hand in any collective cooking endeavours!

Andrea Chan

Something you've enjoyed working on for Food Forward:

Bringing together non-profits and for-profits with the foodie community at local establishments serving home-grown food. The Foodie Drinks event series meets so many needs: organizations and businesses get to share their excitement for the amazing work they do, those in attendance mix, mingle, and network, and the host location is supported in their attempt to bring more local and seasonal food (and drinks!) to the table.

Skills or experiences you have:

A hyper-organized approach to project management, a passion for volunteer and intern recruitment and coordination, and a loud voice when it comes to improving the food system!

What could you offer in this sector?

Nothing engages me more than making an organization run more smoothly and efficiently. That's why I joined the Young Urban Farmers CSA team. In the early years of this very young non-profit, I am helping to provide direction and structure, to keep administrative and farming staff on track, and to motivate everyone to collectively work towards the "big picture" goals. When I find groups doing important work within the food system, I do everything in my power to support them.

Michelle Gruda

Something you've enjoyed working on for Food Forward:

The Pushing Forward: growing your career in the good food movement event - was pretty exciting to get so many people with such wonderful passion and motivation for bettering our food system into one room!

Skills or experiences you have:

Writing, marketing, research, content/resource development

What could you offer in this sector?

Happy to connect local food businesses with opportunities to get featured on ethicalDeal. Also happy to lend our support (promotion/fundraising) to all the amazing organizations working hard to change things in our food system.

Judith Van Veldhuysen

Something you've enjoyed working on for Food Forward:

Researching and posting local foodie events through social media tools

Skills or experiences you have:

Traditional and online marketing of preventive healthcare

What could you offer in this sector?

I'm the Green Party of Ontario candidate for the riding of St. Paul's and also the Women's Issues critic for the GPO Shadow Cabinet. I'm interested in meeting new people in my community who also support the local food movement.