Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Chewing on food as an election issue ...

A re-post of the transcript of Joe Fiorito's article in the Toronto Star, 21 July 2010. For the original article, please visit:

The Canadian Urban Institute gathered together a group of smart people recently, in order to ask why the issue of food did not seem to appear anywhere on the election agenda. A lively discussion ensued, although it wasn’t so much about why food was not on the agenda, as it was about why it ought to be.

Okay, why?

Because there are places in this city where it’s hard to find an unprocessed bite to eat. Because in some neighbourhoods the food bank is more important than the corner store. Because we are too fat. Because our kids think it isn’t food if it wasn’t wrapped in plastic. Because there are a dozen neighbourhoods in Toronto where you can’t walk to the store. Because many of us have no garden, nor any place to put one. And because lots of people have no idea how to buy a whole chicken and cut it up, using some of the meat for the grill and making soup from the rest of it.

You get the point.
A useful question, then.

Of the candidates for mayor, only Joe Pantalone showed up. That tells you something about him, and a little more about the others. The medical officer of health spoke first, about the Toronto Food Strategy. Darlings, I wonder if you knew we had such a thing. I also wonder if you knew that its goals are to protect the environment, promote social justice, foster economic development, support health and celebrate community. None of that sounds like a bowl of pho to me, with a pair of cha gio on the side. Here, however, I should note that my own personal food strategy is to keep it off my shirt. But the merest reason we need a food strategy is that this city buys 7,000 meals a day and serves them up in our shelters and childcare centres.
Our food strategy comes with a set of priorities, among them to eliminate hunger, to connect the city to the country, to develop food-friendly neighbourhoods, and to empower residents.

In plain language, if you can’t afford the lettuce at the farmers’ market, you should grow your own. An aside: The logo printed on the city’s food strategy documents shows fat slices of six different apples, stacked together to form an imaginary apple; of the six kinds, I could only name four.
What a sap?
What a wine sap.

There were more speakers; to them, I merely suggest that speaking from notes is always a good idea, because when you just get up and tell stories off the cuff, you run the risk of . . .
Sorry, my mind wandered.
I have, however, some questions of my own about food and the coming election:
When a developer finishes a neighbourhood, or a renovation in a neighbourhood, why is that developer not compelled to leave a couple of feet of topsoil behind, as opposed to an inch of sod on top of construction rubble?
Why doesn’t the city use some of its land to grow its own food and raise its own eggs and distribute the results in public housing?
Why doesn’t the city push the airport off the island, and reclaim the fields as farmland?
And why didn’t Toronto buy the last Canadian cannery in the Niagara region a couple of years ago, and use it to supply city schools with juice and fruit?
A final thought: in the summer, they teach kids to fish in the swimming pool at Scadding Court. Funny, you can eat what you catch in an indoor pool, but not what you catch from the Humber or the Don.
Why not?
You know who to ask.

Friday, 16 July 2010

More Mayoral candidates than the Media 5

It is unfortunate that of 30+ Mayoral candidates, we only hear of five getting respectable media coverage. Several others have great goals for out city, and in a time where Toronto is facing big challenges - all good ideas deserve to be heard.

This weekend's goal,if you can spare a few minutes: Search online and look up the candidacies of Rocco Achampong & HiMY SYeD

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

What could $30 million do for your community?

Tip of the hat to Councillor Heaps for challenging the deal that has Toronto taxpayers subsidising the property levy's on nine private golf clubs. At next month's executive committee meeting he will be requesting a legal review of this agreement. Sitting executive committee members include:

Mayor Miller; Deputy Mayor Pantalone; Councillor Carroll; Councillor Davis; Councillor De Baeremaker; Councillor Kelly; Councillor Mammoliti; Councillor McConnell; Councillor Mihevc; Councillor Moscoe; Councillor Rae

$30 million could have been invested in our communities, on our infrasture, towards transit or paying down our debt. Let's hope they do the right thing and move this forward.

For the Toronto Star's story on this issue: click here

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Dorset Park Day

While it may be remembered for its G20 shinanigans, the June 26-27th weekend saw the 416 play host to a range of wonderful events and activities. Chief among them in Scarborough was the Dorset Park Day Festival. Held at McGregor Park, the community was out in full force. Not deterred by wind or rain, residents young and old came together and laughed, learned, ate good food and enjoyed wonderful entertainment. Much love is in order to all the organizers for all the planning that went in to the day, and for ensuring a seamless transition when the skies forced us inside. You know it's a good event when people have been there for five hours and still don't wanna go home when it's time to clean up!!! A few pics from the day ...

Scarborough royalty, MC Grimace Love performing for the room

DP Day's co-host asking the crowd when election day is this year

No Limit dancer's getting ready to perform

With Grimace Love after his set

Saying goodbye to Yodit and sending her all good wishes on her journey to Ghana!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Rotary's Canada Day Ribfest!

What better way is there to spend Canada Day than with family, friends, good food and sunny skies?
Many thanks to Rotary International and its Scarborough clubs, the L'Amoreaux Community Centre, partners, volunteers, vendors and entertainers for organizing a fantastic international festival and ribfest weekend. I can say that hands down, I had the best ribs that I've ever had!!!

Scroll down for a few photos from the day

Maker of the best ribs I've ever had ...

Preparing to eat the best ribs I've ever had ...

Eating the best ribs I've ever had ...

Thanks Jen & Cybele for joining me on this fun afternoon!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

NCCT Elections

Thank you Tamil Elections Canada for allowing me the priviledge of observing the recent election of the National Council for Canadian Tamils (NCCT). With several thousand electors participating all across Canada, this was a wonderful display of democracy in action. Special congratulations is reserved for all candidates who put their names forward, and I wish all newly elected representatives all the best in your important work ahead.


For the official media release including the final election results, please visit: NCCT Election results