FoodShare’s Position on Defunding the Police

Dear Mayor and Council,

FoodShare Toronto is a city-wide food security organization, we work alongside individuals, families and communities to promote good food for all. FoodShare does this work in a number of ways, including supporting the over 50 community-led produce markets across the city, supporting the development of student nutrition programs in Toronto schools, managing urban agriculture projects on underutilized public lands, and by partnering with over 80 organizations at the onset of the pandemic to provide boxes filled with fresh produce to help people through what was a growing crisis.
FoodShare’s work is guided by the concept of food justice, this means that we align and evaluate our work to ensure that it drives at dismantling sites of exploitation within the food system and our food movement. We use an equity lens to seek justice, and food security, for everyone.

We know that our work alone will not solve food insecurity or hunger, which is why we work with our government partners to advance meaningful social and economic policy to challenge food insecurities root
causes.

In response to numerous calls from Toronto’s Black and Indigenous Communities as well as reports of systemic police violence occurring across North America, and the pressures the COVID19 pandemic is placing on public services, there is no better time to commit ourselves to transformational change.

We ask that you, as an elected official, pledge to do the following:

  1. To never again vote to increase the Toronto Police Service budget.
  2. To commit to dramatically defund the Toronto Police Service budget. The proposed 10% reduction is nowhere near enough.
  3. To prioritize the expansion of community-led health and safety initiatives.

Investing in body cameras, civilian reviews or de-escalation and implicit bias training doesn’t begin to address the work that needs to take place. What we need in Toronto is leadership that can initiate an immediate reduction in the immense police violence that targets people most marginalized by the system, and works towards the abolition of the modern police force and prison systems.

Increased police presence, which includes TTC inspectors and enforcement officers, does not keep us safe, rather it threatens the lives of communities who have already been made vulnerable (BIPOC, the LGBTQ2S+ community, unhoused people, street-based sex workers, people with disabilities, people experiencing poverty, etc.). Instead of investing in policing, our city must prioritize alternatives like investing in better food access, education, increased mental health services, housing initiatives, income security, harm reduction services, accessible rehabilitation, mutual aid, conflict resolution services, transformative justice, and other vital community-based support systems.

These initiatives must support communities which have historically faced funding cuts, divestment, systemic racism and centre the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and people of colour in reimagining Toronto for the
future.

Sincerely,

Paul M. Taylor (Executive Director) & Crystal Sinclair (Chair, Board of Directors)