social entrepreneurship


Breakout Food Activist Award: Carly Dunster

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.

Carly Dunster is a lawyer like no other.

Putting her foot down one day and declaring herself a food lawyer took some guts. It was probably something she could have tookto market for corporations and get moving, but because of her passion for good food, she is here for all of us.

She has supported the little guys, the Street Food Vendors Association, for example, when hot dog sellers were being kicked out of their spots by the City. She helped make the Toronto Underground Market (TUM) happen with Hassel, and supported other members of ours.

She is always keen on doing more for food justice, but in supporting who she has, she has already taken a lead in this work.

Carly said of TUM, "It was that experience that opened my eyes to just how many individuals and organizations are clamouring to develop new and innovative ways to feed their communities, combat hunger, and shorten the distance between farm and plate. They have creative, dynamic ideas, and need to know how to work within the existing food legislation framework to execute those ideas."

And so in recognizing the political barriers, she has chosen to support those doing needed work to make bureaucracies navigable, and to change policies, like she is doing with the Toronto Street Food Project.

One of our Committee members called her his hero.

You can learn more about her work at Carly Dunster Law.


Sweet New Initiative Award: West End Food Co-op

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.

The West End Food Co-Op is a multi-stakeholder co-operative that includes eaters, producers, workers, and community partners. Throughout their development they have been so much more to neighbourhood residents. Their nominee said they that they have been transforming their neighbourhood by motivating people to come out of their homes to shop together, learn together and invest in a 'more-than-a-food-store' vision with their own sweat, passion and money.

WEFC is about to open its doors to being a food shop, community kitchen, cannery, learning centre, and magnificent food hub. It is an insightful initiative that has put in so much work to show that small communities can have a say on where their food comes from and how it is distributed.

One of our panelists called the hub is both practical and visionary. We wish all success for this sustainable project and encourage everyone to become involved and support it, and we are looking to learn further from its challenges and successes.

Learn more about what's coming and how to support the West End Food Co-op.


Honourary New Venture Award: Andrew Richmond and La Carnita

Andrew Richmond and Amin Todai's concept of La Carnita was to marry their two passions: food & art. Initially it was a pop-up venture using social media channels to gain attention. On the day of each pop-up an announcement would be released on Twitter with the location. The food is always Mexican influenced & the art is done mostly by local artists. The structure of the pop-up was to sell limited edition art for $10 with a side of tacos.

After that, as many of you know, the idea spread to the Toronto Underground Market, and was certainly an inspiration for it. Its own event called UNO featuring art and food found a popularity of 5,000 attendees.. and within a year they’ve opened La Carnita the restaurant, employing 20 staff.

Our nominating committee members recognized the scope and impact of his work and we wanted to recognize what Andrew has done, now as Executive Chef at La Carnita, for a combination of street and pop-up food, arts, and food business in Toronto.

Please accept our congratulations and appreciation for Andrew's success.

More on La Carnita.



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 –

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.