Welcome to Food Forward

Jun
6

Workshop: Expanding Street Food

 Food Forward is excited to partner with our members Marianne Moroney and CommunityEats who are presenting the Expanding Street Food - Food Cart Workshop.

Diverse street food is an accessible and exciting new opportunity for Toronto's food industry. You don't need to a food truck to get involved. The Expanding Street Food Workshop gives an inside look into how diverse and exciting foods can be sold from carts like the ubiquitous hot dog stand.

Our workshop is taught by Toronto street food champion, Vending Association Director Marianne Moroney, the City's only food cart vendor selling a diverse menu. Also present will be a representative of Toronto Public Health and caterers specializing in street-ready foods. Please share the poster below.

Food Forward successfully worked with Toronto food advocates to expand menus, locations, and reduce costs for food cart vendors in Toronto. This summer is the time to take advantage of new opportunities!

Our Jobstarter program features more workshops for new food entrepreneurs.

Jun
2

Exciting news in Toronto: urban agriculture funded by developers

Our Building Roots team took particular notice of a garden in Ward 22 with notice from Councillor Josh Matlow.

Why?

Because the City passed a motion making the community garden in Oriole Park the first community infrastructure project we've heard of to use Section 37 for food.

It is also the ward's first community garden, helping to fulfill the City's policy passed a decade ago for a public garden in every ward.

When we spoke to Josh he said that asking city councillors to use Section 37 it was a way to implement good food in new and established developments and parks. Section 37 is funding provided as part of the development process to projects that provide community benefits. See our developing Building Roots Toolkit for more info and how to do this yourself.

Oriole Park's community garden being built in May

Councilor Matlow met with residents in Brentwood Towers, Deer Park and Chaplin Estates residents to determine how they wanted to see Section 37 funds used. The majority voted for a community garden.  Community town hall meetings also helped to carefully determine the best use of the money for the residents.

This is an excellent example of local decision-making and budgeting - and the people wanted food!

The development at 137, 147 and 35 Merton Street fully funded Section 37, and therefore the garden. Now that Section 37 for the park is allocated there will be a committee of residents who will be part of the design, implementation and maintenance of the community garden.

Perhaps local businesses will donate equipment and other raw materials, such as soil, seedlings and even labour.

We look forward to hearing more about Oriole Park and how the process will create a space that can be used by everyone.

The fact that Section 37 funds were used to create this urban agriculture initiative is a tangible example to city Councillors, planners and developers that urban agriculture and related community and commercial food infrastructure can be accomplished when we all work together.

This is exactly what Building Roots is working to make happen across Toronto. Contact us for support in making this happen in your neighbourhood.

- Lisa Kates, Building Roots consultant

Apr
15

Fruit trees and Food Nation at #SummerFoodKickoff

Do you think Toronto's next Mayor and Council should create a better city through food?

Food Forward is presenting Food Nation! This time at the University of Toronto as part of the #SummerFoodKickoff with our partners.

Come learn about the movement that brings Food Justice to Toronto and find out ways to get involved in the most exciting election campaign in Toronto at out Food Nation Town Hall

What: Learn about food justice and how to tackle it in Toronto. Discuss and get involved.

When: 1-2PM Friday April 25th

Where: East Common Room, Hart House (7 Hart House Circle/Harbord Street)

Let people know you're coming!
Spread the word on Twitter (#FoodNationTO), Facebook, and endorse our platform, volunteer or donate: Join Food Nation.

But Wait, there's more!

A very exciting project from our partners at Transition Toronto...

Treemobile is pretty much the day-time version of the Batmobile. Instead of delivering rough street justice, it delivers food justice and climate justice. Instead of seeking revenge on crime, it’s working toward repairing damage done by December’s ice storm. 

Through Transition Toronto’s Treemobile project, Torontonians with a place to plant can order food-bearing trees and shrubs online and the Treemobile will deliver them on the weekend of April 26th*. 

With just a few clicks, you can have a plant that will provide you with delicious apples, cherries, pears, raspberries, goji berries, hazelnuts, plums, or any of the other varieties available. The Treemobile website also provides guidance on which plants are appropriate for your situation, and how to give your plant the best chance of growing from infancy to food-bearing maturity. 

Aside from providing you with beautiful, tasty food, the Treemobile project has plenty of benefits for you and Toronto. Bearing locally produced food means fewer food miles and lower grocery bills. As saplings and young shrubs ready to grow, the plants delivered will take carbon dioxide out of the air and store it where it’s not going to harm alter the climate. Trees can also shade and cool properties, reducing summer air conditioning bills, and new trees are just what Toronto needs to replace some of the beautiful tree canopy that was lost in the ice storm. Left over Treemobile stock will be donated to community properties to provide food for all. Treemobile is great for you, for Toronto’s environment, and for Toronto communities. It’s everything Transition Toronto wants a project to be.

The Treemobile project is designed to minimize cost barriers, with the most expensive item being $42, and the least being $5. (DON’T FORGET TO CHOOSE A DELIVERY OPTION, at most an additional $5 charge, with pick-up being free!). This is not a for-profit project. We just want to see more trees in the ground and more accessible, local, healthful food in Toronto.

If you want to see the same, and want your own extremely local food, go to www.transitiontreemobile.org and choose the right plant for you. 

*If the planting site is in the delivery zone. Otherwise, plants can be picked up at one of three locations in Toronto. Also, if the ground doesn’t de-frost early enough, delivery may occur on the weekend of May 3rd.

Apr
3

Street Food Legalized!

City Council has just voted to allow diverse street food in a number of ways.

A big THANK YOU to all Torontonians who have responded to our requests to contact your councillors over the years and share opportunities for good food.

The decision is a new start... but we've come very far after working on this issue for nearly three years.

Though we would have liked to see more support for new food vendors, we were pleased a motion passed responding to our joint request this week that street food applications not be denied because of a single objection.

A food cart in Lawrence Heights? A food truck on a Queen St lot? A truck with produce and ready to eat lunches in the burbs? Now permitted.

If you're looking to start a street food business for 2014 - now's the time - contact us (info@pushfoodforward.com) so we can help you figure out the options and push food forward together!

What’s changed as of today and recent decisions

+ A new by-law for the entire City, finally allowing carts and trucks to be legal in many parts of the City - removes by-laws that banned street food from places like Scarborough, Etobicoke and much more

New food carts can apply for spots anywhere in the City except for three most downtown wards and can sell a range of foods

      + Food trucks allowed to apply anywhere in the City, with a number of exceptions, particularly not within 50m distance from a restaurant

      + Carts and trucks now allowed in private parking lots, as per agreements with the landowners - big opportunity!

      + Carts and trucks may be allowed in parks as per agreements with Parks or other City spaces

      + Likely more freedom for alternative types of vendors like mobile produce trucks

 

Food Forward’s street food timeline:

Thanks on getting this going is owed to many advocates, councillors and City staff!

Here's our timeline of advocacy and results on street food.

June 2011 – City Council kills A La Cart program, staff group forms to create new street food proposals (to report before the end of 2011).

October 2011 – Food Forward hosts town hall on food jobs bringing street food leaders together for the first time – leads to front page Toronto Star article on mobile produce vending

March 2012 – Town hall panelists and others launch the Toronto Street Food Project calling to allow diverse street food – Torontonians react with thousands of letters and tweets to councillors asking for street food. Street Food Block Party advocates for street food with many councillors attending.

June 2012 – Staff update councillors on planning. Councillors hear recommendations from Toronto Street Food Project moved by Darcy Higgins to eliminate unfair street food employee fees and allow for food trucks and carts in private lots - Councillors vote for a report back on our motion.

Expanded menus legalized for existing hot dog vendors. (Final street food decisions to be due in November 2012)

May 2013 - Report delayed again, Food Forward launches illegal fruit stand in front of City Hall, bringing front page attention back to the issue.

July 2013 - Councillors work with several food trucks, organizers, Food Forward and Parks staff to allow food trucks in some City Parks.

November 2013 - City staff get back on track with consultations and study on street food, and councillors vote to remove unfair fees for employees of street food carts and trucks.

April 2014 - Final debate on street food leaves many restrictions on trucks and no carts downtown, but finally passes comprehensive new by-law to allowing trucks and carts around the City.

Environmental motions and future reviews passed, along with a motion prompted by Food Forward and our members that eliminates automatic immediate rejection of food truck zones from a single objection.