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The Toronto Food Strategy: Integrating Food into Local Government

Barbara Emanuel, Manager Toronto Food Strategy Toronto Public Health April 17, 2013

Toronto Food Strategy

 Spearheaded by Toronto Public Health to:  Promote a healthy & sustainable food system  Identify collaborative actions that the City can take

Nutrition & disease prevention Social justice Food literacy Food Local & diverse economic development System Strong communities Environmental protection


City of Toronto’s Existing Food Connections

But Common Barriers across Cities

FOOD (& Gov’t) in Silos

What Bureaucracies Can Be Good At Regulations Good Ideas

Toronto Star – Sept 19, 2010

Toronto Food Strategy Approach

 Action oriented  Top down & bottom up  Prioritizing networks & partnerships  Leveraging resources  Research & evaluation

Toronto Food Strategy: Examples in Action

 Understanding layers of neighbourhood disadvantages  Broadening discussion on food security among City & community stakeholders Lack of Healthy Food Sources Low Density of Community Food Programs/ Food Banks High Density of “Fast Food” Inadequate access to public transit Low Household Income

Modified Retail Food Environment Index

1km aerial radius (doesn’t reflect on the ground experience) 1km radius - street network “Healthier food retail” X 100 All food retail Source: Modified Retail Food Environment Index

 Mapping highlights legacies of not integrating food access into City building over time

 Examples of apt tower communities in Germany Source: ERA Architects (2010). Tower Neighbourhood Renewal in the Greater Golden Horseshoe

Mobile Good Food Market

Multiple Goals:  Making healthy food more accessible  Evaluating mobile model  Engaging community  Building links w other City depts to create more enabling regulations  Exploring social enterprise opportunities

Leveraging City Transit Assets

New Mobile Good Food Market Vehicle

(Summer 2013?)

Policies on Access to Land & Infrastructure

Locally Grown World Crops


Food Skills & Employability Training

 Integrating food safety, nutrition & employment training skills

Healthier Corner Stores

 Conducting on-site food store surveys & owner interviews  Working with Ec Dev, retailers, community & other jurisdictions to identify what might work in Toronto

Lessons Learned So Far

 Build partnerships focused on action, even small projects that allow City staff & NGO partners to see food connections can create many benefits  Be opportunistic, find where momentum is  Learning to communicate our message effectively to diverse audiences is critical

Lessons Learned So Far

 Local gov’ts can play strong role in food system renewal, but need to embrace both top-down & bottom-up approaches  Working w community, local gov’t can often pilot innovative food solutions “on the cheap” by leveraging diverse resources

Barbara Emanuel, Manager Toronto Food Strategy Toronto Public Health 416-392-7464 [email protected]