The TFPC was first established in 1991 as a subcommittee of the Board of Health to advise the City on food policy issues. The TFPC is administratively situated within Toronto Public Health. The TFPC 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. Toronto has a long history as a leader of initiatives that ensure access to healthy, affordable, sufficient and culturally acceptable food. Today, the Toronto Food Policy Council’s views, experiences and publications are followed internationally.
The TFPC has up to 30 members, along with 1 full-time coordinator. Members include individuals from the Board of Health, City Councillors, the Toronto Youth Policy Council, individuals from farm and rural communities in the Greater Toronto Area, as well as up to 22 citizen members representing diverse food sectors. Members are appointed for three-year terms.
Association with Government:
The TFPC is an advisory committee under Toronto Public Health. It reports to the Board of Health, as well as City Council through the Social Development department.
- Declaration on Food and Nutrition (1991, old Toronto)
- In 1998, TFPC co-wrote Is Food the Next Public Health Challenge? for the Toronto Board of Health.
- In May of 2000, the City of Toronto adopted a Food Charter, co-developed by City of Toronto’s Food and Hunger Action Committee with TFPC.
- TFPC provided crucial staff and resources to City Council’s Food and Hunger Action Committee, which produced two reports: Planting the Seeds (2000) and A Growing Season (2001).
- 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.
- 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.
- The Toronto Food Strategy report—Cultivating Food Connections: Towards a Healthy and Sustainable Food System for Toronto, 2010—was endorsed by the City manager. The strategy focuses on two areas: 1) increasing access to healthy food, (e.g., mobile food vending trucks, World Crops Project, pilot job creation and training related to food handler certification); and 2) Enabling policy via working with Parks and Recreation.
- The TFPC and Food Strategy team partnered with Niagara-based Vineland Research and Innovation Centre – an organization at the forefront of horticultural and market research for Ontario-grown world crops – to work on the “Feeding Diversity” project. A January 2012 report entitled, Feeding Diversity: Community Access and Commercialization of World Crops, identifies 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.
- TFPC proudly supports the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council (TYFPC), which provides youth with a space to engage, network, and learn from one another, as it 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.
- TFPC has been working with City Staff and the urban agriculture community to implement the ideas outlined in the GrowTO Urban Agriculture Action Plan.
- TFPC has provided support for the Greater Golden Horseshoe Farm and Food Action Plan, which received endorsement from City Council.
- In partnership with Sustain Ontario, TFPC has been advocating for a Local Food Act in Ontario.
- The TFPC is an advocate for the expansion of street food options in Toronto and for creating new opportunities for vendors and food trucks. This issue will be taken up at City Council in April of 2014.
- The TFPC is an advocate for mid-scale composting operations to be allowed within the City of Toronto and has been involved in a working group to coordinate priorities within the City, and to work with the Province, on regulations for this scale of operation within urban boundaries.
- The TFPC has been developing a report on food waste for the City of Toronto to tackle household food waste and to work with the City to reduce the amount of usable food that gets thrown out every day.
- The TFPC has been involved in the production of a Soil Assessment Guide and a Growing and Selling Guide for people wanting to undertake urban agriculture enterprises within the City of Toronto to highlight what the key considerations are and to provide examples of success stories.