Darcy Higgins's blog

Jul
14

Food Nation is here

Help us change the channel from Ford to Food!

Can you attend our Food Nation meetup and volunteer training Tuesday, July 15th? Learn more. Hundreds of Torontonians have already signed on as part of Food Nation. Help us reach even further.

Explore where Food Nation has been, endorse our platform, and share our proposals for change:

foodnationTO.com

A campaign by Food Forward's Food Justice Committee.

Jul
9

Kitchens Forward

Food Forward has been working actively to connect Toronto food innovators and entrepreneurs with the kitchens they need to make community economic development happen. We've been doing it in a number of ways, and increasingly working to get new commercial kitchens on board for use throughout the City.

Under present regulations, the need to cook food for market in inspected kitchens means that many - especially those with less means and access - are left out. Kitchen access is the number one question we get.

Kitchens Forward, our commercial kitchens initiative is multi-pronged with advocacy, research and resources, to support entrepreneurs and make the broader change we need to improve healthy, diverse and local food access: 

  • Commerical Kitchen Directory - We've created a map of rentable commercial kitchens and more info you need if you're renting.
  • Kitchens Forward Advocates - Food Forward and caterToronto members are working to advocate for commercial kitchen development throughout the City. Past blog, A Kitchen in every 'burb! 
  • Kitchen development - with support from the Local Food Fund, Food Forward is creating guides on how to start a rentable commercial kitchen, how to rent a kitchen, and a network of kitchen operators from business, government and non-profit.
  • caterToronto - establishing partnerships to provide kitchen access to new caterers - stay tuned for more information or join caterToronto.
  • Building Roots - with support from the Heart & Stroke Foundation, we're actively working with residents, developers, planners, and housing operators to explore, advocate for, and plan for the development of food infrastructure including new kitchens. Food Nation is pushing alongside.

Contact darcy@pushfoodforward.com to learn more. If you have or know of a rentable kitchen, want to establish one, or work with us to push for more and volunteer, please let us know.

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