Councillor McMahon speaks on Food Justice Day 2015

May
25

Food Justice Proclamation

May 5, 2015

Speaking notes for Councillor McMahon

 

Welcome, introduction and thank you

-       Thank you to everyone gathered, especially Food Forward for creating an opportunity to talk about food justice in Toronto

 

Why talk about food justice in Toronto?

-       Communities across Toronto face unequal access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food.

-       12% of people in Toronto face food insecurity (Tarasuk 2014)

-       Last year there were over 800,000 visits to food banks across Toronto and this number is increasing annually (Daily Bread Food Bank 2014)

-       Unequal access to healthy food reflects both economic challenges as well as geographic challenges.

-       Racialized communities across our City face additional barriers to accessing food, in particular Aboriginal and African Canadian communities (Tarasuk 2014).

-       Some communities in Toronto face longer travel times to grocery stores, this access correlates with low income and unequal access to transportation and social services (Hertel et al, 2014; Toronto Public Health 2015).

 

Toronto's leadership on food policy

-       Toronto's Food Charter signed in 2001, supports Canada's commitment to "the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger" (Toronto Food Charter 2010).

-       The Toronto Food Policy Council and Food Strategy, working with community and City partners have done important work to improve food security in Toronto: mobile good food market, student nutrition program, community gardens and urban farms, farmers markets, diverse and thriving food retail sector all contribute to making Toronto a leader on this issue.

-       Communities across Toronto are working hard on food justice. For example, the Black Creek Community Farm convenes a food justice committee in the Jane-Finch neighbourhood, community food programs in Malvern, Parkdale, and Rexdale bring people together to plan and implement food projects, indeed this work is happening all across the City

-       There is more to be done, and we have to work together, collaboratively.

 

The City wants to partner with Toronto's food community to address food justice

-       Some promising initiatives on the horizon. Food security is a pillar of the Mayor's Poverty Reduction Strategy. Through the Poverty Reduction Strategy and the City's Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy there will be opportunities further strengthen this work. Many of you have provided input into this process.

-       The Toronto Agriculture Program is exploring access to new space for community gardening and urban farms – ie on Hydro corridors and in City Parks.

-       Toronto Public Health and the TTC in partnership with FoodShare are launching a new mobile good food market

 

Conclusion

-       Food justice is tied to many of our pressing priorities at the City of Toronto: secure employment, housing, and access to services.

-       We will need to work collaboratively on these priorities to realize food justice in Toronto.

-       Thank you for organizing this reception, thank you for attending.