Toronto, as I mentioned in my last post, is something of a hotspot for students of food urbanism. Of many inspiring projects I visited or heard about on my recent trip there, FoodShare stands out. Founded as a food bank in 1985 by then Mayor of Toronto, Art Eggleton, FoodShare has grown into Canada’s largest community food security organization, reaching over 145,000 children and adults a month.
An extraordinary amalgam of people and projects, ideas and initiatives for which the mot de jour description food hub is entirely inadequate, it comprises, inter alia, a ‘Good Food Box’ non-profit community box scheme, a collective kitchen and community garden, the FoodLink Hotline, and the mobile fresh fruit and vegetable van, seen here. With educational programmes by the dozen, Food Share has a powerful advocacy role in community and city politics.
The amazing Debbie Field, pictured here with a checklist at the top of this post, is the organisation’s dynamic and much-lauded director. She describes its remit thus:
‘FoodShare Toronto is a non-profit community organization whose vision is Good Healthy Food for All. We take a multifaceted, innovative, and long-term approach to hunger and food issues. At FoodShare we work on food issues “from field to table” – meaning that we focus on the entire system that puts food on our tables: from the growing, processing and distribution of food to its purchasing, cooking and consumption. We operate innovative grassroots projects that promote healthy eating, teach food preparation and cultivation, develop community capacity and create non-market-based forms of food distribution. Public education on food security issues is a big part of our mandate: we create and distribute resources, organize training workshops and facilitate networks and coalitions. We believe that food is vital to the health of individuals and communities, and that access to good, healthy food is a basic human right’.
You can't say fairer than that. What I love about FoodShare is the breadth of its vision. I know of many innovative projects dealing with hunger, food waste, growing schemes, community health and educational programmes, and many more inspirational groups and individuals working tirelessly to influence food policy, but to find all these things in one place is rare indeed. It’s a model that can inspire us all.
To find out more about FoodShare, click here: FoodShare