Toronto Public Health (TPH) works to prevent the spread of disease in our city, reduce health inequalities and improve the health of the whole population. Using health surveillance methods, TPH monitors the health status of Toronto’s population to respond to on-going and emerging health needs.
In 2013 TPH’s Toronto Food Strategy (TFS) team spearheaded the Community FoodReach project. The TFS team has partnered with City staff, institutions, community agencies and the private sector on initiatives to expand access to healthy, affordable, and diverse food. Working alongside the Toronto Food Policy Council, the TFS team promotes access to high quality food to enable personal health, vibrant neighbourhoods, and a vibrant city.
PARC works with members on issues of poverty and mental health. At the heart of the Parkdale community, PARC envisions a world where extreme poverty no longer exists; where everyone lives with dignity, safety, and enough resources to achieve their potential.
From its humble beginnings – a stove and a couple of volunteers – PARC has always been about people gathering for a healthy meal. At PARC’s drop-in center, healthy meals do more than just fill mouths: they start relationships that build trust, fight poverty, mental health, and addictions stigma. PARC’s Community Meal Program is dedicated to serving nutritious, dignified food 365 days a year.
Toronto Public Health has partnered with PARC’s Parkdale Community Food Flow Initiative, which brought a number of agencies together to explore opportunities to promote healthy food access and aggregated food procurement in the Parkdale area. The Parkdale Food Flow partners have evolved into the community “early adopters” for the overall e-commerce portal initiative.
Student Nutrition Toronto (SNT) collectively supports Student Nutrition Programs (SNPs) across Toronto. As of the 2013/2014 school year, there were 720+ programs across Toronto serving over 149 000 children and youth. The partnership’s goal is to foster programs that provide nutritious, culturally appropriate meals to students in a manner that is universally accessible and non-stigmatizing.
Toronto Public Health is involved with many aspects of the program. On top of coordinating the annual funding applications, TPH also manages the Student Nutrition Program Nutrition Standard that each program is expected to meet. TPH also provides free food safety and nutrition workshops to SNP coordinators and volunteers.
SNT is one of the key partners for the Community Food Portal, and will participate in Phase 1 of the pilot project. Along with 9 other community food sector organizations and several convenience stores, this initial phase will establish a scalable prototype that will focus on 16 to 20 core food items.
The Ontario Food Terminal is the third largest wholesale market in North America, and the only one in Canada. The facility houses 21 wholesaler storefronts and 400 farmer stalls during the local harvest season and throughout the year.
The Terminal acts as a guardian of fresh produce – it provides plentiful storage space to accommodate large quantities and varieties of fresh produce and a place for regular safety and quality control inspections. With numerous docks for easy and safe loading and unloading, the Terminal receives fresh produce daily, several times throughout the day.
The Ontario Food Terminal partnered with Toronto Public Health to develop an e-commerce platform to support aggregated food procurement. Today, their partnership has yielded the Community Food Procurement Portal, along with support from other public and private sector organizations.
Housed under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, this fund is part of a comprehensive set of programs that work together to support good jobs, attract investment, and help the agri-food industry make an even greater contribution to Ontario’s economic success.
The ministry also provides advice, research, and programs to advance Ontario’s agri-food sector. Together, these programs are designed to assist the industry in meeting the Premier’s Agri-Growth Challenge to double its annual growth rate and create 120 000 new jobs by 2020.
The Local Food Fund approved the proposal submitted in October 2013 by TPH, PARC, the Ontario Food Terminal, Fresh Tech, and TPSN to develop an e-commerce platform for food procurement. The Local Food Fund’s funding was supplemented through the PHAC partnership, which enables additional functionality on the e-commerce platform.
PHAC is a federal government agency whose mission is to promote and protect the health of Canadians through leadership, partnership, innovation, and action. PHAC envisions healthy Canadians and communities in a healthier world.
PHAC has a multi-faceted mandate to promote health, to prevent and control chronic diseases and infectious diseases, to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies, and to serve as a central point for sharing Canada’s expertise with the rest of the world. PHAC applies international research and development to Canada’s public health programs, and strengthens intergovernmental collaboration on public health to facilitate national approaches to public health policy and planning.
The procurement research capacity provided by PHAC enabled Toronto Public Health’s Food Strategy team to leverage considerable resources from other partners both in terms of additional research and staff/agency engagement.
The George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation aims to enhance the effectiveness of people and organizations working together to help Canadians imagine and build a just, healthy, and creative society. The Foundation nurtures leaders, equipping them with skills and opportunities for learning and reflection, and seeks points of integration in thinking and practice across issues. The Foundation also informs public policy with cutting-edge ideas and research, and encourages emergent and untried ways of working.
The Metcalf Foundation has supported local food initiatives for many years and also supports local inclusive economies. Toronto Public Health’s partnership with the Foundation has leveraged considerable additional resources, both monetary and strategic. The Foundation has committed to fund a staff person located at PARC to facilitate community agency change management and engagement with the Community Food Portal.
An agency of the Government of Ontario, The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) awards over $110 million annually to 1300 non-profit and charitable organizations across the province. OTF’s core business has been to invest in community-based initiatives that help build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario. As the largest granting foundation in Canada, OTF creates significant opportunities for positive change.
With OTF support, local organizations are having a measurable impact on communities across this province by providing services that matter and strengthening local economies. OTF has a mandate to fund across four sectors: social services, environment, arts and culture, sports and recreation.
The Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre (PARC) received funding from OTF for its Food Flow project, which launched in 2013. OTF provided key resources for Food Flow, in partnership with the Toronto Food Strategy (TFS) team, to develop a new online portal project providing an e-commerce platform for aggregated procurement and distribution to the community sector from a range of vendors.
Mazon Canada is a national Jewish response to hunger. Based on the tradition of ‘Healing the world’, Mazon Canada raises awareness of poverty and hunger and links it with the obligation of giving back by raising funds that are distributed non-denominationally giving much needed relief to carefully vetted organizations that provide basic food needs.
Mazon Canada’s work began in 1986 by encouraging the Jewish community to “symbolically invite a hungry stranger to their table” and later branched out to other fundraising avenues, including special events, appeals at holidays and the sale of occasion cards. Mazon Canada responds to the needs of the hungry wherever and whoever they may be and funds organizations which have as their primary concern the relief of hunger, or those which, as part of their larger mandate, have a distinct program specifically targeted to an identifiable group suffering from hunger.