As health problems pile up, Toronto creates a new urban food strategy
The board of health is proposing a new food strategy that hopes to provide families across the city with better access to food. The public health department released its consultation paper this week and hopes to have some solid ideas presented to city council by the end of the spring. David McKeown, Toronto’s medical officer of health, told the Globe:
The food system that we have now, broadly, was developed in the postwar period and was really designed to keep prices low and maximize the amount of food that goes out there. But that food, despite the fact that food prices are relatively low historically, is still not affordable for people who are of low income.
Among the other food-related problems that Toronto is going through: child obesity, families unable to feed themselves, neighbourhoods that don’t have access to quality food, and farmers leaving the Greenbelt to work in fields with a bigger yield. McKeown suggests such initiatives as “food programs, community gardens and communal food education.”
Though admirable, this sounds a little like a beauty pageant contestant saying she wants world peace. Still, we commend the city for taking positive steps (today’s municipal budget shows some enthusiasm for children’s programs). The Globe lists three other cities whose food initiatives did make a difference: London, Vancouver and Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Here’s hoping Toronto will make it onto a similar list in the future.
• Urban food strategy unveiled [Globe and Mail]
• City takes aim at ‘food deserts’ [Toronto Star]
One thought on “As health problems pile up, Toronto creates a new urban food strategy”
The main point missed in this Toronto Life blurb is that Toronto’s Food Strategy urges food planning to be embedded at the highest levels of political decision making at City Hall, similar to economic impact, traffic flow, environmental planning etc. etc.
Given that food is rather essential to life, this makes sense to me.
Presently, Toronto planners hardly think of food at all, creating fast-food wastelands, nutrition-related health issues, hunger, undo waste etc. etc.
The food strategy, should mayoral candidates bother to read it, offers a blueprint for making Toronto an international leader in food systems thinking, which would create a healthier, more equitable, greener, tastier city. In short, it offers a blueprint for making Toronto a great food city.
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