Themes from FoodShare’s first-ever virtual AGM
On November 17, FoodShare hosted our first virtual AGM. We heard from members of our Staff & Board team, and special guest speaker, Rechev Browne. Rechev is an essential worker, labour organiser and community leader from south Etobicoke. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Rechev has been a vocal proponent for pandemic pay, paid sick days and the rights of frontline workers across the food system and beyond.
“This pandemic should radicalize us. An alternative is possible,” Rechev told the virtual crowd. As a grocery store worker, Rechev said he’d never thought of himself as essential, but the pandemic revealed the importance of the folks working hard to keep the shelves stocked with vital food and supplies. He added “it’s also shown how overworked and underpaid we are… without us, society doesn’t work. We’ve been keeping the country going.”
Rechev is one of those people working towards the alternative of which he speaks, serving as a Vice President of the Ontario Federation of Labour Workers of Colour Committee, is a member of the Ontario Federation of Labour’s Young Workers Community and is a lead organizer of the Etobicoke-Lakeshore Fight for $15 and Fairness.
A Message from the Executive Director
We also heard from Executive Director, Paul Taylor, who reflected on our accomplishments in 2019, and the work ahead. Read Paul’s complete remarks below:
Celebrating Black Chefs,
Celebrating BIPOC women chefs,
A photo exhibit and panel on Toronto’s dishwashers,
A conference that centred BIPOC experiences,
Almost 50 Good Food Markets across the city,
Growing food, building composters, the worms that live outside
my office and the sunniest days at the sunshine garden
The Dismantling White Supremacy Good Food Box,
Working alongside grassroots groups, supporting social
movements and feeding the revolution.
Always advocating for better!
This is you!
This is us!
This is FoodShare!
And I couldn’t be more proud!
We’ve been able to challenge the status quo and business as usual in all kinds of ways.
We’re helping folks across the country and quite possibly beyond, recognize that low-income people are not walking compost bins and shouldn’t have to rely on kind hearts or corporate marketing budgets to advance our right to food.
Ultimately we know that neither charity, other people’s leftovers, corporate waste or a mountain of three-legged carrots is going to solve food insecurity or poverty.
Food insecurity and poverty are predominantly issues of income, not food.
It’s why we challenged the Premier to live on $14/hour when he rolled back the planned increase to minimum wage.
It’s why we’ve seized opportunities to let folks know that there is more than enough food to feed everyone in this country, not to mention, more than enough money.
We live in one of the richest countries in the world, one that is often recognized for a decent quality of life and the championing of human rights – but I’m left wondering, who’s quality of life?
Who’s human rights?
Certainly not the Indigenous communities that remain without clean drinking water.
Certainly not the Black Canadians that seem to always reflected disproportionately in food insecurity statistics, poverty statistics, police shootings, incarceration rates, unemployment figures, health outcomes – the list goes on.
We’re going to continue to centre Indigenous sovereignty and Black liberation in our work to advance food justice.
We’re going to continue to work in solidarity with Indigneous People across Turtle Island, who face persistent and ongoing state-sanctioned genocide.
We’re going to continue to work alongside land and water defenders that are fighting back against extractive capitalism, the erosion of fundamental human rights and environmental destruction.
We will continue to advocate for the recognition of Indigenous land and treaty rights. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s something that we’re going to have to do, if we expect to have any sort of fighting chance at saving the planet.
We will continue to collectively push back against models that lack dignity and foist bags of stale bread and salty soup on low-income communities.
We will continue to stand alongside low wage food system workers as they fight for better. Be it the migrant agricultural workers, who we allow to be treated like modern day slaves, to the gig economy workers, especially those delivering food to our homes, rain or shine or snow or sleet, but barely making enough to eat.
We will continue to lend our resources to fueling the revolution that we desperately need.
We’ll do this by supporting the activists on the frontlines of advocating for change.
Most importantly, we’ll continue to do this work together!
From Ranu making sure that we’re getting our Wednesday stretches in, to Katie W. who helps bring a sense of fun to our work, to folks like Brenton, one of our drivers, who spends hours on the road making sure that beautiful fresh produce finds its home.
There are so many amazing people that contribute to making our work possible. I tell you this from personal experience – they are amazing! I truly couldn’t think of a better team and community to be doing this important work alongside!
Thank you all!