Toronto is a municipal food policy leader, with a long history working to ensure access to healthy, affordable, sustainable and culturally acceptable food. The Toronto Food Policy Council (TFPC) was established in 1991 as a subcommittee of the Board of Health to advise the City of Toronto on food policy issues. The TFPC connects diverse people from the food, farming and community sector to develop innovative policies and projects that support a health-focused food system, and provides a forum for action across the food system. TFPC members identify emerging food issues that will impact Torontonians, promote food system innovation, and facilitate food policy development. The TFPC’s Terms of Reference can be found on our City of Toronto webpage.
Over the past two decades the TFPC has made significant contributions to the GrowTO Urban Agriculture Action Plan, Golden Horseshoe Food and Farm Action Plan, Toronto Food Strategy, Toronto Environmental Plan, Toroto_Food_Charter, the Official Plan, the Toronto Food and Hunger Action Plan, and has facilitated City engagement with the Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee.
Today, the Toronto Food Policy Council’s views, experiences and publications are followed internationally.
What we do
The TFPC works on a broad range of food policy initiatives. Here is a brief overview of our current work.
Toronto’s Food Strategy
The TFPC works closely with Toronto Public Health’s Food Strategy team. The TFPC is the community reference group for the Food Strategy, with a focus on identifying emerging issues, facilitating linkages between the community, Toronto Public Health and City Divisions, and advising the food strategy team on their implementation process. Read Toronto’s Food Strategy – Cultivating Food Connections,Toronto Food Strategy (FINAL).
The TFPC has been involved in the development of the GrowTO Urban Agriculture Action Plan. The plan was endorsed unanimously by Toronto City Council on November 27th, 2012. We are now working with City Staff and the urban agriculture community to implement the ideas outlined in the Action Plan. The City of Toronto decision documents related to urban agriculture can be found here.
Greater Toronto Area Agriculture Action Committee
The TFPC actively participates on the Greater Toronto Area Agriculture Action Committee (GTA AAC). The GTA AAC exists to:
- provide a coordinating function for agriculture issues in the GTA;
- share information and resources to raise awareness of issues;
- act as liaison with all levels of government;
- encourage innovation and diversification within the industry; and
- combine resources and efforts to achieve a sustainable, long-term agricultural industry within the GTA.
The GTA-AAC is comprised of the following members: four members representing the four respective Regional Federations of Agriculture; four members representing the Regional Municipalities (Regional Chairs, councillors or delegates), one City of Toronto (e.g. Toronto Food Policy Council) representative; two Provincial government representatives, one Federal government representative and two representatives of the agricultural industry (e.g. producers, processors etc.).
Greater Golden Horseshoe Farm and Food Action Plan
In partnership with the GTA AAC and many other groups, the TFPC participated in the development of the Greater Golden Horseshoe Farm and Food Action Plan. http://www.foodandfarming.ca/about/
The Greater Golden Horseshoe Farm and Food Action Plan was endorsed by Toronto City Council on April 10th 2012. The City of Toronto decision documents related to the Farm and Food Action Plan can be found here.
The TFPC is proud to support the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council (TYFPC). The TYFPC, first of its kind in the world, seeks to mobilize and engage youth to make change by building a just food system. The TYFPC provides youth with a space to network, share opportunities and learn from one another, and strives to become Toronto’s leading Youth voice in sustainable municipal food policy change. The TYFPC also has two permanent Youth seats on the TFPC.
Canadian Municipal food policy survey
The TFPC is working with York University, the Vancouver Food Policy Council, and the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute on a survey of municipal food policy initiatives across Canada. The results of this survey and our report are expected in March 2013.
Feeding Diversity: Community Access and Commercialization of World Crops
The TFPC and Toronto Public Health (Food Strategy team) have embarked on an exciting new project in partnership with Niagara-based Vineland Research and Innovation Centre – an organization that is at the forefront of horticultural and market research for Ontario-grown world crops. The “Feeding Diversity” project is identifying strategies to make culturally appropriate vegetables more widely available in Toronto’s underserved neighbourhoods, and aims to ultimately substitute these often imported products with locally grown versions.
Local Food Act
Working with Sustain Ontario, the TFPC is advocating for a Local Food Act in Ontario. The Act was tabled in October of 2012, just before the Liberals prorogued the government of Ontario, and is sure to emerge as a priority once again once the legislature is in session again.
Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy
A broad coalition of food and farming groups is advocating for a comprehensive food and nutrition strategy for Ontario. Find out more here.
The TFPC has been involved in advocacy on a number of food issues on Toronto City Council’s agenda. From 2010-2012 the TFPC has advocated for:
More diverse street food and food truck culture
An exemption from Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA)
Local and sustainable food procurement
Back yard hens to be legalized
A regional food and farm action plan
An urban agriculture action plan
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food’s Canadian Country Mission
The TFPC’s staff coordinator is the Vice-Chair of Food Secure Canada, sits on the steering committee of Sustain Ontario, and is on the Board of Directors of Everdale Environmental Learning Centre.
The Toronto Food Policy Council’s work is