January 27, 2015
by Kyla Schwarz-Lam

PLANTING SEEDS OF CHANGE – Forging your own alternatives in the food system

TYFPC Planting Seeds of Change

Join the TYFPC to discuss the increasing privatization of food, and meet some Torontonians who are fighting back! Vanessa Ling Yu (caterToronto), Jacob Kearey-Moreland (Toronto Seed Library), and Arlene Throness (Rye’s Home Grown) will discuss their work in making food in Toronto more accessible to everyone. After our discussion, Jacob will lead us in a planting workshop where you’ll have the opportunity to start your own home vegetable garden.

Join the event on Facebook

The nearest accessible subway station is St. Andrew Station (King Street and University Avenue). From there, head 3 blocks west on King Street to John Street and then south to the main entrance of Metro Hall.

This venue is wheelchair accessible. An elevator in the lobby provides access to the third floor. There are also accessible washrooms on this level.

The TYFPC strives to create accessible and inclusive spaces for all its members. If we require accommodation to ensure your participation, please email info@tyfpc.ca.

January 26, 2015
by Lora Murray

On Good Food Jobs: An Interview with Kaitlin Vandenbosch of Mill St. Brewery

As part of an ongoing interview series of youth perspectives on good food jobs, we caught up with Kaitlin Vandenbosch of Mill Street Brewery, Toronto. Kaitlin is a former TYFPC member and now head distiller at Mill Street Brewery. On the agenda were Kaitlin’s thoughts on craft beer, the food movement, and good food jobs.

1) Can you tell us about your background (educational, volunteer, professional, and/or personal), and what led you to pursue the path of being a brewer?

  • I’ve always been really interested in biology and chemistry.  At age 15, a friend’s dad gave me the tour of a food science research facility and I was excited that this was a possible career.  I completed my BSc in Food Science at UBC in 2008.  Afterwards, I spent a year living in Europe, learning French and thinking about my future.  At the end of that year, I decided that I wanted to become a brewer.  I came back to Canada and met a lot of brewers, tried home brewing and volunteered at several breweries.  I got a summer job at the Yukon Brewing Company in 2010.  After that I went to Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh to complete my MSc in Brewing and Distilling.  I’ve been at Mill Street ever since.

2) Can you briefly describe your current work? Any future plans?  

  • Currently, I am the Head Distiller at Mill Street brewery.  I run our small craft distillery (making spirits) in the Distillery District.  I am also the production scheduler for our main brewing facility.
  • Mill Street is a fast growing brewery and I have held various positions since starting in the cellars cleaning tanks and collecting yeast 3.5 years ago.  I would like to increase my role in management, assist in technical brewing problem solving and participate in process improvement.

3) What are the broader significances of your work/plans for alternative food networks?

  • I am not exactly sure how to answer this.  I think that craft beer is an important product.  It is a quality product, made with traditional ingredients and it supports the local economy.

4) How would you describe the relationship between the craft beer scene and the food movement?

  • I think the craft beer movement is part of the current food movement.  Craft beer is returning to traditional recipes, ingredients and brewing techniques.  This is echoed throughout the food movement.

5) In what capacities have you participated in the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council?

  • I was on the TYFPC for 2 years from 2011-2013.  I helped create an education workshop in my first year.  I also was part of the team that restructured the council.  In my second year, I was and Education Lead and rolled out the education workshop.

6) How has the TYFPC shaped your current interests and involvement in the food movement?

  • At present, I am more involved in the beer industry than the larger food movement.  However, the skills I learned as part of the TYFPC, I have been able to transfer to my current volunteer pursuits.  I am currently involved in establishing a board to connect women across all aspects of the alcohol industry.  I will also be soon taking over the role of technical chairperson for the Masters Brewers Association.

7) What are some of the lessons or take home messages you have for youth who wish to pursue research and employment in the food sector?

  • Food is an essential part of life.  There will always be employment in the food sector.  My advice is to find what aspect of the food sector interests you.  Talk to people already working in the industry.  Find out what they do and how they got there.  Volunteering is another great way to learn more about the food industry and also to see if a certain job interests you.

January 14, 2015
by Lora Murray

On Good Food Jobs: Volunteering with Harvest Noon

By Ravi Wood

harvest noon

                For those of you who may not have heard about Harvest Noon, it is a social justice oriented café and cooperative found on the University of Toronto campus, and a great place to get lunch! Because it is a cooperative, it is entirely member-run, horizontally governed organization and is fueled by the many helping hands of a couple dozen volunteers. The website itself describes the café as such:

“Harvest Noon Café provides a relaxed and inclusive gathering space for both U of T students and members of the wider community to eat, cook, learn about, and express their love for food.  As a café we aim to serve local, sustainable, and organically produced food and to support principles of food justice and accessibility.  Harvest Noon is a project of the Toronto Sustainable Food Co-operative, an organization initiated by members of the student group Hot Yam! in the Fall of 2011.  By building relationships with local producers and like-minded groups, we provide opportunities and support for folks interested in fostering good, clean and fair food alternatives.”

The café aims to make what they serve as accessible as possible, both in terms of cost and dietary restriction. Therefore all meals are vegan and nut-free, and many others are free of other allergens such as gluten and soy. (Wednesdays and Fridays also feature a gluten-free baked good!) An average lunch – consisting of an entrée, a slice of bread with hummus and salad – runs a mere $5 with plenty of opportunity to mix and match to accommodate your own dietary restrictions and/or taste buds. In the fall, winter and spring, there are two main entrees to choose from; and all year round there is homemade sourdough bread (with a starter that has been going for almost three years now!), salad, hummus, baked goods as well as coffee and tea. Besides being a community-oriented café, it also accepts responsibility of being an environmentally conscious organization. Almost all of the food is sustainably and locally-grown (with the exception of some of the more tricky gluten-free ingredients).

Besides serving lunch, the café is also open for bookings for community organizations and also frequently hosts workshops, lectures and other events. I myself have been a volunteer at the cooperative for about a year and a half, and I work in the kitchen and teach some workshops on traditional food skills in the café. Volunteering in the café is a great experience if you are interested in learning more about food justice, sustainability, alternative economies or anything in between. It is a very accommodating, sociable atmosphere where you work with a couple other passionate individuals at a time and can engage in great conversation while making delicious food!

If you are interested in volunteering, the shifts are divided into three time slots (9:30-11:30, 11:30-1:30, 1:30-3:30) Monday to Friday, and they’re always looking for extra hands. For more information, check their website out: http://harvestnoon.com/volunteering/.

If you are interested in swinging by for a delicious, healthy and wallet-friendly lunch, baked goods go out at around 10 and lunch gets served from 11:30-2. Also stay tuned for some upcoming workshops on fermentation facilitated by yours truly!

December 3, 2014
by Rivka Kushner

TYFPC Discussion Meet-Up: Food Bank Accessibility

Come and join us to discuss food bank accessibility and help us develop a project around the issue of food bank accessibility in Toronto!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Early Bird Espresso & Brew Bar, 613 Queen Street West, Toronto

We will be brainstorming how we can support food bank accessibility for undocumented residents in Toronto, with a broad perspective on how to support change in our community. We will be looking back on the discussion at the last community meeting with speakers from North York Harvest Food Bank, No One is Illegal, and the Ryerson Good Food Centre. Find our table by looking for the TYFPC t-shirts!

For more information or to RSVP, please email Rivka at rkushner@tyfpc.ca or check out the Facebook event.

The nearest accessible TTC stop is Queen Street on the Spadina Streetcar. From there, head West past Portland Street (but before Bathurst Street). The cafe is on the south side of the street.

The venue and washrooms are wheelchair accessible. Click here for more details from Access TO.

The TYFPC strives to create accessible and inclusive spaces for all its members. If we require accommodation to ensure your participation, please email info@tyfpc.ca.

November 25, 2014
by Kyla Schwarz-Lam

Celebrating the second issue of Gathering

Earlier this month we were excited to officially launch the second issue of Gathering, which you can find here. We celebrated the launch with a party at the CSI Regent Park, in the Daniels Spectrum. We spent a lively and thought-provoking evening discussing the publishing process and gaps in food research that need to be addressed. Joel Fridman, one of the TYFPC’s Education Committee leads last year and an instrumental force in publishing this issue, spoke about the process of editing and publishing Gathering; Genevieve Fullan, who contributed an article to this issue about the need for a systems approach to Student Nutrition Programs in Ontario, spoke about her experiences having her work published; and Julia Cottle and Margaret Bancerz who sat on the editorial board gave us their perspective on the editing process. Wally Seccombe, one of Everdale’s founders and a long-time Toronto Food Policy Council member, and Anne Freeman, manager of the Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market and the coordinator for the Toronto Farmers’ Market Network, spoke about the importance and challenges of reporting on food research back to the communities that are involved, in addition to general audiences.


L to R: Genevieve Fullan, Juneeja Varghese, Joel Fridman, Kyla Schwarz-Lam, Alia Karim

Of course, with the publishing of one issue of Gathering, we are beginning work on the next issue! You can find more information here. We are also excited to announce that we are beginning a new journal featuring creative works about food. You can find more information about that here. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email us at journal@tyfpc.ca.