Growing Food Justice Toronto fosters sustainable, community-based food action programs and urban agricultural initiatives as a means of dismantling racism and empowering low-income communities, Indigenous Canadian communities and communities of colour.
Growing Food Justice Toronto strengthens the capacity of emerging, community-led, start-up ad hoc groups, collectives and committees to build local food justice initiatives led by communities of colour, Indigenous Canadian communities and newcomers to Canada. It is FoodShare Toronto's innovative and dynamic approach to growing such initiatives through the animation of its Cross-Cultural Food Access Innovation Hub.
This food system network views dismantling racism as a core principle. It brings together social change agents from diverse sectors, all working to bring about new, healthy and sustainable food systems, while supporting and building cross-cultural leadership in impoverished communities throughout the world.
Growing Food Justice Toronto is a Best Practice that Foodshare Toronto has embedded in all of its programs and administrative networks through educational programs for staff, volunteers, social service agency networks and community-led organizations. Programs include "Dismantling Racism" training, workshops and resource materials, as well as additional national and international training opportunities.
FoodShare Toronto works to empower individuals, families and communities through food-based initiatives, while advocating for the broader public policies needed to ensure that everyone has adequate access to sustainably produced, healthy food.
Community consultations and project evaluations identified a need for more dialogue and opportunities to explore the systemic barriers that exist within communities of colour, Indigenous Canadian communities and new Canadian communities, where food access programming and leadership was concerned. Many community partners stated that they consistently experienced racism, oppression and discrimination when attempting to lead their own community-based food action initiatives and when attempting to access emergency food services.
The focus of the work is to give ongoing, culturally appropriate, diverse, unifying and sustainable support to cross-cultural community groups, which will enable them to explore, plan and act on issues and strategies related to food justice, diversity and equity access initiatives through the Cross-Cultural Food Access Innovation Hub.
Many of FoodShare Toronto's cross-cultural, community-led partners have experienced difficulties in advancing their community food access projects due to multiple barriers, particularly the challenges rooted in racial discrimination and other circumstances.
For example, emergency food programs located within communities often didn't provide culturally appropriate food, and when community members requested that their ethnocultural needs be reflected, they received minimal responses and/or changes to programs.
FoodShare Toronto's most valued partnerships are with their community-based leaders. These are residents of the communities that they serve, who have taken leadership roles to ensure that the food access programs serving their communities are accessible, consistent and equitable.
Making a Difference
Growing Food Justice Toronto mobilizes and strengthens leadership from communities of colour, new Canadians and Aboriginal communities to play a key role in determining their food futures and building resilient communities. It fosters new and improved cross-community networking for communities that are often under-networked and increases the organizational capacity and visibility of projects.
The biggest challenge has been dealing with the number of groups and organizations that want to join the Cross-Cultural Food Access Innovation Hub platform. This demand has resulted in a growing waiting list.
Vision for the Future
FoodShare Toronto intends to grow the capacity of its Cross-Cultural Food Access Innovation Hub platform to increase its ability to engage emerging cross-cultural food action community organizations and initiatives. This program has received support from multiple funders, including a long-term commitment from the City of Toronto, ensuring that this project will become a lasting resource for the city and a replicable model for communities across the globe.
About FoodShare Toronto
FoodShare Toronto is a non-profit community organization whose vision is "Good Healthy Food for All." Founded in 1985 to address hunger, FoodShare Toronto takes a unique, multifaceted and long-term approach to hunger and food issues. It works to empower individuals, families and communities through food-based initiatives, while advocating for the broader public policies needed to ensure that everyone has adequate access to sustainably produced, healthy food. Working 'from field to table,' FoodShare Toronto focusses on the entire system that puts food on the table: from the growing, processing and distribution of food to its purchasing, cooking and consumption.
FoodShare Toronto is Canada's largest community food security organization, recognized as an important innovator of effective programs that have been reproduced across Canada.
Best Practice Contact
Utcha Sawyers, Community Food Animation and Food Justice Manager, FoodShare Toronto
90 Croatia Street Toronto, ON M6H 1K9