The Toronto Food Strategy
The Toronto Food Strategy initiated through a report entitled, “The State of Toronto’s Food: Discussion Paper for a Toronto Food Strategy”, which was presented to the Toronto Board of Health in June 2008. The goal of the Toronto Food Strategy team was to “develop an action plan to improve the food system to better support good nutrition, healthy development and disease prevention, poverty reduction and social justice, a strong local economy, environmental protection and climate change action, and the promotion and celebration of culture and community through food.” Meeting these goals inherently requires the staff of the Toronto Food Strategy to coordinate and collaborate across City departments and divisions.
In 2010, the Toronto Food Strategy produced a report entitled, “Cultivating Food Connections: Toward a Healthy and Sustainable Food System for Toronto“.
The report recommends that the City Manager request all City Divisions, Agencies, Board and Commissions, to identify and implement opportunities to embed food system initiatives in City policies and programs. It also provides numerous examples of actions that the City of Toronto can take, in active partnership with residents, community organizations and businesses, categorized according to the following six areas:
- Support food friendly neighbourhoods
- Make food a centerpiece of Toronto’s new green economy
- Eliminate hunger in Toronto
- Connect city and countryside through food
- Empower residents with food skills and information
- Urge federal and provincial governments to establish health-focused food policies
The actions are weighted toward those which can leverage existing resources and optimize the use of the City’s already-paid-for assets.
Working alongside the Toronto Food Policy Council, the Food Strategy team hopes to inspire innovation to unlock food’s potential to enable personal health, vibrant neighbourhoods and a great city.
The Toronto Food Strategy current projects include:
Aggregated Food Procurement
“Increasing the nutritional quality of foods served in community and social service agencies while offering cost-reductions”
Healthy Corner Stores
“Expanding access to fresh, healthy food and revitalizing Toronto’s convenience store sector”
Community Food Works
“A unique approach to food safety, nutrition and employment training for low-income communities”
Mobile Good Food Market
“Finding new ways to make healthy, affordable food available across the City”
Locally Grown World Crops
“Growing the world’s foods in our own backyard”
Food Retail Environment Mapping
“Mapping access to healthy food across Toronto”