A New Home

FoodShare's community vegetable garden at 90 Croatia St., Toronto

2005 to 2009 - A New Home

Context

  • The United Way established Priority Neighbourhoods in 2005, mirrored by the City of Toronto’s Priority Areas in 2006. The neighbourhoods selected through census data looking at social risk indicators such as unemployment rates, density, lone-parent families, visible minorities, and income levels. The neighbourhoods were used to focus funding and community services in areas where they could have the highest impacts.
  • The Greenbelt Act was passed in 2005, designating 1.8 million acres of land in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, where Toronto is located, as permanently protected green space for farmland, forests, wetlands, and watersheds.
  • In 2008, the Provincial government as part of its poverty reduction strategy announced that $32 million would be invested over 3 years into Student Nutrition Programs, or $17.1 Million a year. Toronto’s share of the fund was $5 million a year (15% of the total program cost at the time). As a result of this funding, between 2008 and 2009, the number of students participating in Student Nutrition Programs grew from 84,934 to 103,864.
  • Patricia Allen released a critical paper Mining for Justice in the Food System in 2007 stating that “without an explicit focus on justice, we may be ushering in this type of two-tiered food system based on a politics of complacency among the privileged who benefit from the alternative agri-food system.”

Directions

  • In 2005, FoodShare released a study called ‘Fighting Global Warming at the Farmers Market: The Role of Local food Systems in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions’ researched by Stephen Bentley, a graduate student at the University of British Columbia. The Report examined the production of greenhouse gases through globalized food transport and recommended that the Canadian government prioritize supporting the revitalization of more localized food economies.
  • In October 2006 FoodShare moved its office to an underused school building at 90 Croatia Street. While the facility was being renovated, between October 2006 to August 2007, FoodShare’s Good Food Box operations moved to the basement of the Daily Bread Food Bank in south Etobicoke, and Kitchen programs moved to a Community Church in Parkdale.
  • FoodShare established its Healthy Lunch program in 2008, cooking and serving a hot free lunch to all staff and volunteers as an employee benefit, paid for by each department, with taxes paid for by staff. Coming together everyday over food contributed to a community atmosphere that remains today and is often referred to as the ‘FoodShare Family”.
  • In 2009, FoodShare released a three year Strategic Plan focused on the organization’s vision of ‘Good Healthy Food for All’ in three major areas: 1) Direct impact, 2) Building, Community-based Partnerships and Influencing Policy, and 3) Support and Infrastructure Development.

Milestones

  • In 2005, School Salad Bars were implemented in 8 schools. The program was inspired by the Farm to School Salad Bar in California, and worked with individual schools to serve a lunch that provided students four vegetables or fruit servings, two proteins and two carbohydrates.
  • FoodShare established its first two Good Food Markets in 2005 to accommodate the growing demand for fresh affordable produce, and as a way of facilitating community development while also addressing limitations for farmers and small-scale producers. Like the Good Food Box, the Markets were subsidized with fresh produce purchased in bulk from the Ontario Food Terminal.
  • Good Food For Life started in 2006 as a program working with “premenopausal women who have or have had breast cancer to stay on course by eating well and staying healthy” by offering healthy cooking workshops, connections to local healthy food resources, social spaces with opportunity for interactive reflections and skill building. The program expanded in 2007 to include 8-week sessions throughout the year focusing on specific themes for each week.
  • Programs offered through the Toronto Partners for Student Nutrition continued to grow, reaching 575 programs in schools serving 103,864 participants by 2009.
  • Field to Table Schools held its first ever Great Big Crunch in 2009 drawing participation from 28,863 students at 125 schools from across Canada to take part in a special day of good food education and a synchronized apple crunch from coast to coast.
  • The Good Food Café was launched in 2009 modeling a universal healthy school cafeteria serving attractive, affordable, and delicious food to students at the same cost as a regular school cafeteria.
  • Through the Art on the Move project, FoodShare’s Focus on Food Youth Interns painted one of Good Food Program’s delivery trucks with art they created based on what FoodShare represented to them.
  • The Recipe for Change campaign was launched in 2009 with the goal to integrate Food Literacy into the school curriculum. Through Field to Table Schools programming, the campaign mobilized and equipped students, educators, policy makers, and key decision makers to become involved in integrating cooking, gardening, composting, and nutrition into the provincial curriculum and school activities from JK through grade 12.
  • Field to Table Schools launched 10 footprint shaped gardens at schools across Toronto through a partnership with the Toronto District school Board, Toronto District French School Board, and the Ministry of the Environment. The gardens were accompanied by community workshops, aimed to facilitate the exploration of the ecology of our food choices and climate change. The team also started its Soil Power project supporting the development of composting programs at schools across the city.
  • In 2009 ‘The Boss’ Bruce Springsteen helped FoodShare with an auction fundraiser by matching all bids up to $5,000 raising $36,000 for FoodShare.
  • The 2009 city-wide summer garbage strike led to a closer examination of Toronto’s waste, spotlighting FoodShare’s Composting Guru Mike Nevin who turned 250kg of waste each week into nutrient rich compost.

Assets

Annual Revenue  Good Food Program Sales  Catering Sales  Urban Agriculture Sales
2005 $3,360,092 $1,026,623 $123,988 $13,064
2006 $3,736,701 $1,187,578 $92,863 $13,254
2007 $3,958,787 $1,201,866 $92,863 $2,781
2008 $4,500,073 $1,325,881 $141,266 $5,303
2009 $5,596,300 $1,620,324 $163,266 $5,837


Number of Staff

In 2005 there were 22 staff, rising to 45 by 2009.

Location

In 2005 FoodShare’s location on Eastern Avenue was demolished, and FoodShare relocated to an under-utilized school property at 90 Croatia Street.

References

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