TYFPC Statement on the 2019 Election and Federal Food Policy

For Immediate Release 

 

2019 Federal Election – Reducing food insecurity in Canada takes impact, not intent

On October 21st, 2019, the Liberal Party was re-elected for a second term in Canada, forming a minority federal government. In response to a questionnaire distributed by Food Secure Canada, the Liberal government stated that the party is “committed to addressing food security in Canada. We support developing and funding a national strategy to reduce food insecurity in Canada.”

Trudeau’s platform covers a number of actions which reflect the party’s commitment to working on food security at the federal level. These include working in partnership with community-based organizations, a focus on evidence-based decision-making, and budget increases to agricultural skills training. The party has promised to implement a food sovereignty approach, working in relationship with First Nations Communities across the country to address Indigenous priorities around food insecurity. The platform also incorporated several broader actions related to economic access to food for Canadians, including introducing the Canada Child Benefit, developing a National Housing Strategy, and increasing funding to Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement.

On June 17th, 2019, Trudeau’s government had released Canada’s first national Food Policy for Canada culminating from a series of consultations with organizations and communities across the country. A Food Policy for Canada would reflect food issues that matter to Canadians including but not limited to: improving food-related health outcomes, strong Indigenous food systems, and increasing connections within food systems and communities. The Food Policy for Canada would provide a guide for public, private, and non-profit sectors capacities to plan, collaborate, and improve food-related outcomes.  Budget 2019 had committed $134 million in support of the food policy to include improvements in access to healthy food and supporting a sustainable food system that would work towards Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.  

The commitments the Liberal Party has made to addressing food insecurity certainly appear promising. Their platform takes into consideration in some depth the ways in which food insecurity is rooted in much larger systems of oppression, which reflects our own values here at the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council (TYFPC). We understand that prioritizing Indigenous food sovereignty is an important and necessary change to our national approach to food insecurity. We value youth voices; a focus on agricultural skills training for young people is crucial in order to educate a new generation of farmers who can help us to change our food system from the inside out. We know that people with lived experience understand the strengths of their communities best; letting them lead the way allows us to develop meaningful responses. Finally, we believe that recognizing food insecurity as a direct result of systemic poverty is the only way we can begin to create real, sustainable solutions.

The Toronto Youth Food Policy is hopeful about the federal government’s commitment to reducing food insecurity. However, hope without critical reflection is naivety. 

With a minority government in place, the Liberals will have to share decision-making power with the official opposition, the Conservative Party of Canada. The Conservatives’ lack of response to the Food Secure questionnaire speaks volumes about the party’s lack of interest in prioritizing the issue of food insecurity. This means that making progress on the Liberals’ commitments to increasing food security nationally will not be without significant roadblocks. 

We must not forget the Liberal party’s track record of broken promises to Indigenous Peoples and Communities during their first term. The Liberal government’s commitments to reconciliation seems to reflect good intentions, but we must remember that it is impact, not intent, which matters.

The TYFPC is committed to building a more just food system; a significant part of our work is rooted in advocacy, in pushing for meaningful change to our food system at a macro-level. Over the next four years, it will be crucial for us – as council members, as citizens, as community members, and as treaty people – to hold a mirror up to power; to hold the federal government accountable to these commitments.

Eat, Feel, Create

On Monday, February 4th the TYFPC hosted a community meeting at Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre (PARC) on Youth, Mental Health, and Food called Eat, Feel, Create. The event featured an interactive and engaging panel discussion with Cleopatra Myers, The Stop Community Food Centre, Natalie Bousteaud, FoodShare Toronto, Drew Silverthorn LOFT Community Services, Cheyenne Sundance, Greenest City and Xuan-Yen Cao, The Stop Community Food Centre. As with most conversations around food access and mental health, when you get to the root of the issues, the conversation becomes much more complex. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to bring the community together to create space for these much-needed dialogues.

After our discussion, event attendees participated in creative/artistic activities and a seeding workshop. Folks were invited to create a page in a zine that aimed to explore the nuances, complexities, and wonders of self-care, and common cultural conceptions of it. We are excited to share the results of this workshop with you. Special thanks to Rav Singh and Dimah for putting all the pieces together. You can scroll through the beautiful pages of the Eat, Feel, Create Zine

A Glimpse into the Struggle for Food Sovereignty in Canada

On October 13 and 14, 2017, The TYFPC’s Advocacy Co-Lead.  Katherine Yee, attended an Indigenous Food Sovereignty Gathering at Artscape’s Gibraltar Point, organized by FoodShare Toronto.


  Food builds community, nourishes our bodies, and allows people to express themselves. In an urban centre like Toronto, one of the most diverse in the world, you can walk through the city and find food from any cultural, ethnic or geographic tradition – whatever you’re hungry for, someone is cooking. When access to such a myriad of foods is plentiful it’s easy to forget, that many people are fighting for food sovereignty.

Food sovereignty, “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agricultural systems,” (Via Campesina, 2018) is a vision of the past and the future, one that affects communities across the country, but none more so than Indigenous peoples.

In Canada, generations of discrimination have prevented Indigenous peoples from obtaining food sovereignty. Reserves, which are displaced communities that resulted from settlers claiming fertile land that had long been responsibly stewarded by Indigenous peoples, as well as residential schools, which stripped away traditional food knowledge and practices, while simultaneously malnourishing children, are two examples of such discrimination. The results of these histories still impact Indigenous peoples today: Indigenous communities across Canada lack access to potable water, face statistically higher rates of diabetes, and continue to struggle to access culturally appropriate foods.

As a Métis person of mixed heritage, I am so grateful that FoodShare organized the Indigenous Food Sovereignty Gathering because for a large part of my life Indigenous food was only spoken about as a kind of “novelty” – to be eaten as an “experience,” but not as a way of life. This gathering created space for Indigenous peoples to share their stories and experience of fighting for food sovereignty.

During the gathering inspiring stories were shared. Take, for instance, Arlene Jung, who told us of her community’s persistence in growing a tomato past the season in a makeshift/DIY greenhouse. Given the community’s remote location, many members had never even tasted a freshly grown tomato. Perry McLeod-Shabogesic, on the other hand, made it his mission to bring back traditional hunting after an Elder in his community couldn’t remember the last time they had tasted deer. In response, Perry opened up a wild food bank in the community, providing access to traditional foods for everyone. Many others are doing equally impactful work in bringing food, tradition, knowledge, and ceremony back into their communities’ ways of life.

However, underlying all of these triumphs was a shared sentiment that “it has been hard.”

The effects of colonialism are still felt among many Indigenous communities throughout Turtle Island. Nations have lost their land – and those displaced to remote, Northern locales will likely continue to struggle with food insecurity. In some communities, this is more acutely experienced now that climate change is preventing winter roads from freezing over. Traditional knowledge and teachings have been lost and are now held in the hands of a few rather than the many.

Because of this, it is hard to deny how political food is. Corn growers using historic seeds spend sleepless weeks hand-pollinating crops to avoid cross-pollination with neighbouring mono-crops. Hunter, a two-spirited, non-status mixed race Indigenous person has struggled for years to be included in hunting practices with male members of the Band, while the entire community struggles to gain hunting rights to their land. Chef Johl Ringuette of NishDish stresses how difficult it is to advocate for localized food systems because in our current system 80% of our food comes from outside of Canada.

Despite all the struggles and oppression, Indigenous communities have faced, many smiles and laughs were shared throughout the gathering. Joseph LeBlanc shared a hopeful anecdote: Capitalism can feel like a fast-flowing river never to be redirected, however, if everyone begins by throwing in one rock at a time to divert the stream together, we will slowly change the course of the river.

Unless we act together and support communities who have been dispossessed by colonialism and capitalism things will simply not change. Listening to the successes of people fighting for Indigenous food sovereignty, I’m hopeful that the movement is growing and that the river is changing course. Perhaps one day we will be able to look back and see how these changes have benefited communities across the country, where Indigenous peoples are again able to connect with the land, provide for themselves and their families, and be supported and celebrated for their continued practice of cultural traditions.   

By Katherine Yee

TYFPC presents: What’s Your Recipe for A Better Food System?

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When: Thursday, September 28th, 2017, 6:30-8:30pm
Where: TBA, University of Toronto, 40 Willcocks St, Toronto, ON M5S

What food issues matter to you? What are the biggest challenges and barriers our communities are facing with food? What food stories do you want heard? We want to hear from you!

The Toronto Youth Food Policy Council in partnership with FoodShare Toronto, Toronto Food Policy Council and New College, Toronto will be hosting a community engagement session to hear about YOUR interests, opinions and ideas about what should go into Canada’s first ever National Food Policy!

Event Format:
To help highlight the diverse food issues in our communities, the engagement session will feature 5 roundtables throughout the evening with designated facilitators who will bring their own stories and experience to the table. The roundtables will focus on: community food work, indigenous food sovereignty, food policy, youth voices and farmer experiences.

Each table will have a recorder, who will be taking note of major ideas and direct quotes from participants at each table. These notes will then be compiled into a summary which will be submitted to Food Secure Canada to be a part of a report that will be shared publically to contribute directly to a Food Policy for Canada.

Evening Schedule:
6:30-7:00pm – Introductions: TYFPC, Partners and Roundtable Facilitators and Dinner
7:00-8:00pm – Attendees will have the opportunity to visit up to 3 roundtables for 20 mins each:
– Roundtable #1- Community Food Work – Facilitator: TBA
– Roundtable #2 – Indigenous Food Sovereignty – Facilitator: TBA
– Roundtable #3 – Food Policy – Facilitator: TBA
– Roundtable #4 – Youth Voices – Facilitator: TBA
– Roundtable #5 – Farmer Experiences – Facilitator: TBA
8:00-8:30pm – Wrap-up and Closing Remarks

There will be a light meal served.

More updates to come!

Want to know more about community engagement sessions that are taking place across Canada? Read below and visit here:https://www.canada.ca/en/campaign/food-policy.html

Food matters. Canadians make choices every day about food that directly impacts their health, environment, and communities. The Government of Canada is conducting consultations to get input from Canadians to help shape A Food Policy for Canada (link is external)that will cover the entire food system, from production to consumption to compost.

Food Secure Canada (FSC) members across Canada are hosting community engagement events called What’s Your Recipe for a Better Food System? towards the food policy consultations.

We want to bring a diverse set of voices to the table–community members with lived experiences of food insecurity, sustainable agriculture and fisheries leaders, local food business owners, and innovative community food programmers, among others–to talk about how we can build a healthier, more just, sustainable, and economically viable food system for all Canadians.

From these events, we will provide government with input and policy proposals from a range of regional food systems and perspectives across Canada to inform A Food Policy for Canada.

**ACCESSIBILITY**
TYFPC strives to create spaces that are accessible and promote anti-oppression. This space and this event are open to all, and discrimination or harrassment based on race, class, citizenship, gender, sexuality, ability, culture, age, or any others will not be tolerated.

If you have any questions or concerns about accessibility, anti-oppression, or accommodations, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

TYFPC is looking for new members!

The Toronto Youth Food Policy Council is looking for new members!

Join Us!

APPLICATIONS FORMS here: TYFPC-Application-Form- 2017

Call out for new TYFPC Members!

At the close of an incredible year, the TYFPC is now looking for up to 6 new council members to join our team for 2017-2018!

We are a Toronto-based social organization that seeks to engage and mobilize youth to create a healthy, just, and sustainable food system for all. We do this by building community, raising awareness, and advocating for policy change. We also organize great events… with amazing food!

If you are an enthusiastic and motivated youth (age 16-30) who is interested in activating positive change within Ontario’s food system, consider applying your strengths and skills to one of the available positions below:

Available Positions (up to 6):

Operations Lead

Communications Lead

Education Co-Lead (2)

Advocacy Co-Lead (2)

Application Process:

Interested candidates should first, view the TYFPC Position Descriptions below (and attached as a PDF in links below). Next, fill out the TYFPC-Application-Form- 2017 and email their application to applications@tyfpc.ca along with an up-to-date resume, with their position of interest included in the Subject Line. The submission deadline is Monday July 31, 2017 at 9:00 AM EST.

Please be sure to read the position description(s) you are applying for thoroughly for further instructions. All questions pertaining to applications can be directed to applications@tyfpc.ca.

We look forward to hearing from you!

TYFPC Position Descriptions

Advocacy Committee Co-Lead (2)

The Advocacy Committee provides leadership in the following areas:

  • Advocacy: offer a youth perspective on food issues while representing the TYFPC at meetings, events, public deputations, and other speaking opportunities.
  • Outreach: develop and lead discussions on food in collaboration with other advocacy organizations. Identify opportunities to connect the TYFPC’s advocacy work with pressing problems affecting the food system or youth more generally.
  • Research: engage the TYFPC network in local food policy issues, for example by creating policy briefs to inform the TFPC’s work, or bringing attention to specific food issues by leading workshops, supporting social movements, and leading social media campaigns.
  • The Council will also facilitate opportunities for community and additional committee members to write “advocacy spotlights” and guest blog posts through our communication channels in coordination with our communications team.
  • Co-coordinate one community meeting with other council members.
  • Sit on at least one working group (fundraising, anti-oppression, etc.) within the council.

An ideal candidate would:

  • Be excited about municipal food policy and/or food justice issues.
  • Enjoy making presentations and facilitating group discussions.
  • Take initiative on projects and be able to manage their time.
  • Be comfortable in both a research and advocacy capacity.
  • Be interested in generating content for TYFPC’s website and social media.
  • Experience or interest in designing resources and tools for youth., including but not limited to: webinars, instruction kits, informational videos

Other requirements:

  • All applicants selected for council positions must attend a mandatory 2-day strategic planning retreat in September.
  • All council members are required to attend monthly council, committee and community meetings on the first Monday of each month.
  • All council members are also required to help coordinate one community meeting, which will  place the first Monday of each month.

How to apply:

  • Deadline: send a completed application and resume to applications@tyfpc.ca by July 31, 2017, 9:00 AM.
  • Submission email subject line: ‘Advocacy Committee Application – Your Name’.
  • Successful applicants will be contacted for interviews in early August.

The TYFPC welcomes applications from all interested food passionate youth, regardless of experience or background, between the ages of 16 and 30. We encourage applications from diverse communities, including Indigenous, racialized, disabled, queer, and trans* youth. We welcome both lived and academic experience, and encourage applicants to note this in their application.

Education Committee Co-Lead (2)

The Education Committee Co-Lead is responsible for the following:

  • Editing the TYFPC’s youth journals: Gathering, our peer-reviewed academic journal,  and Melange, our creative arts journal:
    • Managing the selection process, creating calls for submissions to both journals and answering questions from potential contributors
    • Reviewing submissions and meeting with council members during that process.
    • Coordinating peer review by contacting reviewers and staying in contact throughout editing process.
    • Working with graphic designer in creating layout for journals (having graphic design skills and software is a plus but isn’t necessary).
    • Managing and periodically reviewing internal and external documentation (e.g. forms and website) for journal process
    • Organizing a ‘launch’ event for journal for contributors, peer reviewers and public.
    • Finding sponsorship opportunities to support publication costs.
  • Facilitating workshops
    • Gathering resources for education toolkit and updating workshop content for participatory activities.
    • Contacting potential schools and/or community groups and coordinating materials for workshops (e.g. printing).
    • Facilitate groups in workshops.
    • Liaise with volunteers (if necessary) and co-facilitators in workshops.
  • Co-coordinate one community meeting with other council members.
  • Sit on at least one working group (fundraising, anti-oppression, etc.) within the council.

A person in this role should:

  • Have strong organizational capabilities.
  • Be self-motivated.
  • Be comfortable speaking and reaching out to the public (or want to practice public speaking and facilitation skills).
  • Be attentive to detail (e.g. editing).
  • Experience using WordPress and/or graphic design (e.g. Photoshop, InDesign) for journal layout is an asset .

Other requirements:

  • All applicants selected for council positions must attend a mandatory 2 day strategic planning retreat in September.
  • All council members are required to attend monthly council, committee and community meetings the first Monday of each month.
  • All council are also required to help coordinate one community meeting, which will  place the first Monday of each month.

How to apply:

  • Deadline: Send a completed application and resume to applications@tyfpc.ca by July 31, 2017, 9:00AM.
  • Submission Email Subject Line: ‘Education Committee Application – Your Name’.
  • Successful applicants will be contacted for interviews in early August.

The TYFPC welcomes applications from all interested food passionate youth, regardless of experience or background, between the ages of 16 and 30. We encourage applications from diverse communities, including Indigenous, racialized, disabled, queer, and trans* youth. We welcome all experiences (i.e. lived and academic), and encourage applicants to note this in their application.

Operations Lead (1)

The Operations Lead is responsible for the following:

  • Administering the TYFPC website (WordPress platform), Google group, Google Drive, Dropbox, and social media accounts
  • Maintaining and responding to the general TYFPC email account (info@tyfpc.ca); organizing the logistics & administration of each monthly meeting; improving Council processes and making strategic recommendations to the TYPFC Executive and broader council.
  • Researching, updating and maintaining the Events Calendar.
  • Developing record processes and keep detailed financial records.
  • Maintain the meeting minutes and archiving of TYFPC google working documents and files.
  • Co-coordinate one community meeting with other council members.
  • Sit on at least one working group (fundraising, anti-oppression, etc.) within the council.

A person in this role should:

  • Have strong organizational and time-management capabilities.
  • Have strong communication skills.
  • Have experience with or interest in learning basic financial record keeping.
  • Be self-motivated to meet deadlines.
  • Be comfortable with web platforms (e.g. WordPress, administering Google, Mailchimp and Dropbox).
  • Design skills and other web experience an asset.

Other requirements:

  • All applicants selected for council positions must attend a mandatory 2 day strategic planning retreat in September.
  • All council members are required to attend monthly council,  and committee and community meetings the first Monday of each month.
  • Supporting executive committee strategic decision making processes.
  • All council are also required to help coordinate one community meeting, which take place the first Monday of alternating months.

How to apply:

  • Deadline: Send a completed application and resume to applications@tyfpc.ca by July 31, 2017, 9:00 AM.
  • Submission Email Subject Line: ‘Operations Application –Your Name’.
  • Successful applicants will be contacted for interviews in early August..

The TYFPC welcomes applications from all interested food passionate youth, regardless of experience or background, between the ages of 16 and 30. We encourage applications from diverse communities, including Indigenous, racialized, disabled, queer, and trans* youth. We welcome all experiences (i.e. lived and academic), and encourage applicants to note this in their application.

Communications Lead (1)

The Communication lead is responsible for the following:

  • Finding and sharing content for our social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Promoting community events relevant to the TYFPC community.
  • Creating, collecting, and curating content for our bi-monthly email newsletter.
  • Work with the networking committee to find and connect with complementary organizations and businesses online.
  • Monitor social media and web traffic (Google Analytics).
  • Write and encourage other council members to write blog entries for our website on a monthly basis.
  • Support the development of communications materials and presentations for TYFPC speaking events and presentations.
  • Act as support for any technical issues council and community experience using our website, Google groups, email, or related channels.
  • Co-coordinate one community meeting with other council members.
  • Sit on at least one working group (fundraising, anti-oppression, etc.) within the council.

A person in this role should:

  • Be familiar with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Google apps, WordPress, & Mailchimp.
  • Be self-motivated.
  • Comfortable with basic HTML/CSS or more.
  • Connected with the local food community online (or interested in it).
  • Strong communication and presentation skills.
  • Knowledge of Adobe Illustrator or other design applications would be an asset.

.Other requirements:

  • Supporting the communications work and storytelling for 2016-2017 grant activities and TYFPC collaboration projects.
  • All applicants selected for council positions must attend a mandatory 2 day strategic planning retreat in September.
  • All council members are required to attend monthly council, and committee and community meetings the first Monday of each month.
  • Supporting executive committee strategic decision making processes.
  • All council are also required to help coordinate one community meeting, which will  place the first Monday of each month.

How to apply:

  • Deadline: Send a completed application and resume to applications@tyfpc.ca by July 15, 2017, 11:59 PM.
  • Submission Email Subject Line: ‘Communications Application –Your Name’.
  • Successful applicants will be contacted for interviews in July.

The TYFPC welcomes applications from all interested food passionate youth, regardless of experience or background, between the ages of 16 and 30. We encourage applications from diverse communities, including Indigenous, racialized, disabled, queer, and trans* youth. We welcome all experiences (i.e. lived and academic), and encourage applicants to note this in their application.