Welcome to Food Forward


Eat early, vote often: the case for kids

A new report released this week tells us that early nutrition is key to health and prosperity for the years to come and points to a need for government and societal focus in this area. The International Food Policy Research Institute says that health and nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life determines outcomes such as education and even wages.

Along with other recent reports on the importance of fighting health and nutrition, this one tells of the importance of getting to it early.

According to Marie Ruel of the Institute, there is a need for governments to take this information and run with it in a big way.

"It's not enough that nutritionists know you have to intervene then, if we don't have the politicians on board," she says, "and also the...people that implement [programs] in the field."

This piece of growing research now shows the need to move ahead on prioritizing the social determinants of health such as providing healthy food to those who need it most - the young. Governments must begin to quickly focus more resources in the early years including nutrition education and healthy sustainable food that is affordable for all. Funds could be found in the savings that come down the road in sick care - or right now from subsidies to big oil, unsustainable agriculture and other wasteful spending.

The case couldn't be stronger that this would be money well spent.

Read more on the report here: http://bit.ly/first1000


What’s on candidates’ Thanksgiving menu?

Media Release
Thursday October 7, 2010

TORONTO, ON – As Thanksgiving approaches, Toronto election candidates are being encouraged to participate at food banks, community kitchens and gardens to educate themselves about hunger and community solutions happening throughout the City.

Food Forward is providing a number of ideas to candidates to get involved, such as volunteering to clean up a community garden; cook a local sustainable Thanksgiving meal; volunteer or donate to a food bank; help cook at a community centre; or support a community meal such as one for seniors or those impacted by the 200 Wellesley St. fire. Many candidates have already participated in the Food Poll to collect for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Ward 9 candidate Gianfranco Amendola easily won the Toronto Food Poll, raising 2,928 pounds of food for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

“Hunger remains a real issue in Toronto and access to healthy food is out of reach for residents in many parts of the City,” said Darcy Higgins, Executive Director of Food Forward.

“Only 51% of Torontonians live within 1km of a grocery store, often making expensive and unhealthy food the easier option. The next crop of councillors should be learning about exciting food projects in the City that could be duplicated, while making food planning a key priority for City Hall,” he said.

There are also many events in Toronto with which municipal candidates may get involved:
• FoodShare’s Eat In at Queen’s Park Friday as part of Recipe for Change
• Soupalicious on Saturday benefiting Plant a Row, Grow a Row
• 10/10/10 Global Work Party for climate solutions on Sunday


Expand access to healthy, local food: Smitherman

“I want to dramatically expand access to healthy, local food. Through community gardening and local farming on underused lands, we can produce healthier food and foster a sense of community. We need leadership to make it happen.”

With an emphasis on urban agriculture, George Smitherman has become the latest mayoral candidate to prioritize healthy food in Toronto's municipal election.

Smitherman's plan, "Urban Food Strategy: Healthy Food For All", has five points:
- Making urban farming a priority
- Removing zoning restrictions that get in the way of growing and distributing local food
- Encouraging City departments to purchase more locally-grown food and engage youth
- Expanding mid- and micro-scale composting projects to schools and apartment buildings
- Enabling food businesses
For the full release, see: http://bit.ly/9ADaPG

The points are in line with many of those in the Toronto Food Strategy and Food Forward's priorities for the next Council. Though missing some hard targets, the Strategy marks a good understanding by George Smitherman of the need for people to access healthy food, and would make a solid start in implementing Toronto's Food Strategy.


Debate debate!

Many food forward thinking Toronto residents are excited that food and health is now getting on the election agenda and platforms of council and mayoral candidates.

For example, Jonathan Goldsbie in the National Post on the food platform released by Joe Pantalone: "I like the policy. A lot. I have a soft spot for innovative ideas that would concretely improve lives, especially those of people who aren’t necessarily that well off. I look at this primarily as an investment in public health, but also as a relatively straightforward way to assist in the integration of disparate and diverse communities that, in some respects, are disadvantaged by the very design of the suburbs." More: http://bit.ly/foodplatform

Now is the perfect time to increase talk of food in public dialogue, candidate discussion and media by asking questions at all candidates meetings.

Questions such as, how will you work to end food deserts in Toronto?
Will you support urban agriculture and fund community projects in City spaces?
Would you increase the purchase of local, sustainable food and increase support for food entrepreneurs and businesses?

A calendar of mayoral all-candidates meetings and our policies priorities are listed here: http://pushfoodforward.com/recipe

To find out when the next council debate is in your ward, email Darcy , Caitlin or one of your local candidates.

And register to vote! http://www.toronto.ca/elections/voters/voter-info.htm