Food Charter working group is developing a food charter for York Region

The Food Charter Working Group* is developing a Food Charter for York Region! A food charter is a document that outlines the values and beliefs about food that a community considers most important.  This public document can be used by community organizations, municipalities and many others in the community, to guide policies, programs, and projects to build a healthy local food system. This system includes food production, processing, distribution, access, transportation, marketing, education, consumption and waste management.

With your involvement in York Region’s communities, we would appreciate your input in the development this document. Visit Food Charter Survey to complete a 5-minute Food Charter Survey for your chance to win tickets to the 2012 Markham Fair.

Survey closes October 12, 2012

If you are interested in learning more about this exciting initiative, please contact Kate at or on 905-841-3101 ext. 206.

Thank you for your time and input in developing a Food Charter for York Region.


* The Food Charter Working Group is made up of representatives from:

York Region Food Network • Heart and Stroke Foundation • United Way York Region, in partnership with York University • Seeds For Change • York Federation of Agriculture • City of Markham, Sustainability Office • Healthyork • York Region Community and Health Services

*This is a United Way Strength Investments project*

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Give the Gift of Dignity this Holiday Season

Want to give the Gift of Dignity this Holiday Season?

Sign our Petition to Put Food in the Budget of our neighbours on social assistance. An immediate increase of $100/month to enable people to purchase healthy food is a gift that:

  • combats hunger and injustice
  • reduces reliance on our already over-burdened food banks and volunteers
  • is a start at eliminating some of the wasted  time and energy that goes into maintaining our systemic, second rate food system for the poor.
  • is a first step towards raising rates to adequate levels that reflect the real cost of living in Ontario.
  • restores the right of individuals to purchase their own healthy food
  • is simply the right thing to do.

Thanks to all of you who sign this petition and help to restore some balance in a world where Charity cannot redress poverty and inequity.

Sign the Petition here:

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The Special Diet Allowance: What You Should Know

On November 30, 2010, the Ontario government announced they had decided to keep the Special Diet program instead of cancelling it. But, they said, they were going to make some changes to the program.  This backgrounder explains these changes and says what you should know if you currently get a Special Diet allowance.

Click here for more information

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The poor still pay more: Challenges low income families face in consuming a nutritious diet

The Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity, in collaboration with Open Policy Ontario’s John Stapleton and research consultant from Toronto Public Health, Brian Cook, releases its report recommending initiatives to help low income families overcome challenges in consuming a nutritious diet.

Toronto – Though much progress has been made with Ontario’s current Poverty Reduction Strategy, more needs to be done. We currently face an underlying challenge – here in Ontario, many people in poverty are facing hunger today. In 2009, over 375,000 Ontarians had to turn to food banks every month (a growth of 19 percent from last year alone), signaling the alarming effects of the recent recession on the diets and health of our most vulnerable residents. Though food banks have become the public face of our collective response to hunger, it is clear that in spite of their best efforts, food banks and community food initiatives are not a solution to hunger or poverty.

Though social assistance has roughly kept pace with inflation since 2004, we are seeing an increasing gap between rising food inflation and social assistance rates, placing greater strain on social assistance recipients and requiring them to allocate a greater portion of their allowance to purchase food. Furthermore, certain food groups, and particularly dairy products have seen a surge in prices, making basic nutrition more expensive for low income families. Specifically, Canada’s milk prices are highest among its international peers as a result of our supply management system, where restrictive quotas have led to artificially inflated prices at the expense of its consumers. There is also a growing concern that basic access to food remains a challenge as “food deserts,” or low income neighbourhoods with limited access to food retailers providing healthy foods and fresh produce, exist in Toronto today.

The report recommends:

  • A new housing benefit geared to income and rental costs to free up constrained finances to purchase food
  • Improved incentives for retailers and community groups to increase accessibility by low income communities to lower priced and healthier food options, particularly in urban “food deserts”
  • The eventual elimination of the price influence of dairy marketing boards

The authors conclude that everyone has the basic right to access healthy and nutritious food, and are concerned that people in Ontario – a region of great economic prosperity and opportunity – are going hungry today. Much needs to be done to ensure that we help reduce the obstacles that impede low income households from accessing their basic right to nutritious food. By supporting our most vulnerable, we can tap into the potential of our labour force, reduce healthcare costs, and help us reach one step closer to our full prosperity potential.

The complete report can be downloaded directly from:

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