Welcome to Food Forward

Nov
17

Statement on the death of Bill C-311

Major news outlets and environmental organizations have reported this morning that Bill C-311, the sole proposed federal climate legislation, has been rejected by the Senate in a rushed and secretive vote orchestrated by the Prime Minister's office, see: Tory senators kill climate bill passed by House.

This is a huge blow to binding action on climate change in Canada, which was explicit in legislation already passed by the elected House of Commons. The Senate's move was surprising and unprecedented. In the Senate, the bill was co-sponsored by a Liberal and a Progressive Conservative (still in the former party), and in the House it was an NDP Private Member's Bill supported also by the Bloc Quebecois, Liberals as well as the Green Party.

For what then, is the purpose of democracy if appointed officials can kill, without debate, legislation passed by the will of the people represented by their elected officials... legislation dealing with this most critical global emergency?

If passed, the legislation would have brought about tough new regulations and market measures to significantly reduce greenhouse gases. Agriculture, a major contributor of greenhouse gases in Canada, would have had to be examined to determine areas in which pollution reductions could be made, including practices which could have helped spur a local and sustainable food economy.

Environment is a food issue and vice versa. Now, much work is left to be done, with nothing sitting on the table to reduce rising emissions. We must plan for food security and sustainability, and to adapt to the effect that the climate crisis will play on our global and local food supplies.

Please write your Member of Parliament to let them know what you think about this action.

Reaction so far by other organizations:

Nature Canada
Pembina Institute
David Suzuki Foundation
Greenpeace (en francais)
National Union of Public and General Employees

Nov
15

Low income lunch

As part of my Do The Math Challenge, starting today, one serving of oatmeal was breakfast. Well really, I needed a piece of white toast and peanut butter too, as I understand that three oatmeal servings is more of an actual meal, and the one just made me more hungry after eating.

Lunch was an old American classic, Campbell's soup, condensed, "Creams, made with fresh mushrooms". This brings me from my normally vegan diet, among other things. Did this come out of the war? Popular in the 50s I imagine, one of those products that began to be marketed to women, and more so as they became busier with work. No need to actually blend your own mushrooms any more..

The can reads low in saturated fat, cholesterol, 0 trans fat, no artificial flavours or colours.

Who is it that's been saying, if it says healthy on the package it's probably not. The thing with this food is, what is good about it? I suppose the mushrooms at some level are fine. There's certainly not much of any protein or fibre.

Again, one serving isn't a meal, and so I had to finish the whole small can, which still didn't really fill me up. And that one can is 80% of my daily recommended sodium intake. So there I have my salt for the day in one shot. But it's what I could afford on this diet and what the food bank gives, what people donate.

Why doesn't the label say "Beware: high sodium content, limit consumption".

And I didn't realize that so many products still use MSG...

Nov
12

Our turn to Do The Math - a food bank diet next week

This Monday begins a very particular and not so nutritious diet for me, which I'll be doing next week with a number of others across the province interested in raising an important issue.

The Stop's "Do The Math Challenge" is an event which asks the provincial government to put food in the budget, by considering the importance of healthy food for people on social assistance, while recognizing that a filling and healthy diet just isn't possible for many Ontarians.

So next week I'll be getting what would be in a food bank hamper, basically a three day supply of food, those is provided on more of an emergency basis, only up to once a month for those who need it (supplies are often low and of low quality). I'll be working to stretch it. So that means my food consist of things like Kraft Dinner, rice, soup cans, some bread, etc... and none of my usual nuts, whole grains, fruit, fresh vegetables, tofu, chocolate, meals out, drinks, etc.

I'll be doing the Challenge with a twist, as my friend and Food Forward volunteer Connie - who occasionally speaks and writes about lived experience of poverty - will be trading diets with me, and enjoying fresh, healthy foods for the week. Connie and I believe that all people deserve healthy food, no matter their position or social class. Without it, individuals and families stay in a trap of weak health and limited opportunities. With a broken food system, there are many opportunities for governments to help solve multiple problems while emphasizing health for all.

This diet challenge was done a few months ago by a few high profile Torontonians. As a new organization focused on advocacy and policy, it's Food Forward's turn to get involved. I will be participating and invite you to join me! If you can do a few days next week with a food hamper, try it out. We'll also share other ways to get involved and take action. Follow Food Forward's website through the week for blog posts on our experiences. Others will also be blogging at: http://pfib.posterous.com/

Join us for the start to the campaign, a Rally to Put Food in the Budget this Monday at 7 at the Wychwood Barns.

Nov
11

Event - Pushing Forward: Growing your career in the good food movement

We're sorry, this event is now full.

The booming food sector is providing a number of exciting opportunities for today’s job seekers and those looking for a change of career. Already making up one out of every eight of Toronto’s jobs, food jobs are providing a key component of the City’s employment market and economy.

The purpose of this afternoon is to provide a series of educational and interactive sessions for people interested in getting or starting a job in the food or environmental sector that will also make a difference in society. Key for those interested in opportunities in social entrepreneurship, food businesses, farmers' markets, corporate sustainability, writing and publishing, co-operatives, non-profits.

Date/Time: Saturday, November 27th, full afternoon program

Location: University of Toronto, Sandford Fleming Building

Speakers and workshops:
- Harriet Friedmann, leading food policy researcher, Geography Professor and fellow of the Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto - an introduction to the growing food movement and academic opportunities
- Nogah Kornberg, Executive Director of Young Social Entrepreneurs of Canada - a workshop on skills that define a social entrepreneur, the difference between social entrepreneurship, nonprofit, charity work; and the growing area of "intra-preneurship".
- Melissa Shin, Managing Editor, Corporate Knights Magazine - on a young person succeeding in the field of alternative writing/publishing and clean capitalism
- Anne Freeman, Co-ordinator of the Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers’ Market and the Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network - on the operation of farmer's markets in Toronto and other small food business start-ups
- "Unconference" style session on food sector work
- Post-event social and networking opportunity
- And more...

Cost: $45.

Registration: Register for this event by contributing $45 on our Get Involved page or becoming a monthly Food Forward Supporter. Current Supporters and those paying on the day of can register by emailing, and anyone with questions, please write: darcy@pushfoodforward.com

Event supported by: Dig In: U of T Campus Agriculture and U of T Urban Agriculture Society

Final details including schedule to be posted here.

This event is a fundraiser for the work of Food Forward, which is advocating for food policy change in Toronto and working to strengthen the City's food movement.