We’ve been busy!
Thanks to those who joined our Youth in Food Politics Community Meeting, we had an awesome brainstorm session that has helped focus our goals for the upcoming municipal election project. We started with the three issues that arose as most important from our survey: food access, funding for community food organizations, and urban agriculture. Then we discussed what about these issues is particularly relevant to youth and to the upcoming election.
One theme that had a lot of supporting arguments was youth employment:
- We are keen to see candidates talk about their thoughts and plans for decreasing precarious work, decreasing unpaid internships and increasing minimum wage.
- We are also interested in how the municipal government can create opportunities for food businesses and projects, such as: access to land for growing, grants for food work, opening up or upgrading existing resources for additional purposes (such as integration of seed hubs in public libraries, and upgrading kitchens), using Section 37 to set aside money and space for food work.
- In addition, we would the like the process for working with the city to be streamlined by: embedding a staff person dedicated to food and urban agriculture, clarifying processes for urban agriculture.
In regard to next steps, we had a discussion meet-up on Thursday, April 3 where we discussed the project moving forward and figured out that we want our role to include collating research (as opposed to doing very much primary research ourselves) and really focusing on youth civic engagement. Based on the feelers we’ve put out so far, it seems that we are still early to find other youth partners, but we’re keeping our ears to the ground for any opportunities to collaborate. We are also beginning to seek out resources that have evaluated municipal election candidates in the past and that are planning on evaluating them before this election. Our goal is to keep on top of candidate information that would be useful to youth voters and become a hub for that information.
In addition, stemming from our engagement with the food and the municipal election working group (recently organized by Toronto Food Policy Council and other interested parties), we would like to organize members of our community to attend community meetings and debates and to provide them with suggestions for questions to ask candidates. By attending sessions in small groups, we hope to break down barriers to civic engagement for youth. And the candidate responses to these questions can become part of the information that we share with our wider community. This is something we’ll discuss further in our engagement with the working group as well as at our next TYFPC municipal election discussion meet-up.
Our next discussion meet-up will be in May. Stay tuned here, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, for details.
If you would like to learn more about this project or get involved in anyway, please contact Kaylen, Advocacy Committee Co-lead, at email@example.com.