City Council has approved Canada’s first Black Food Sovereignty Plan for Toronto to respond to the need for immediate and comprehensive action to address the problem of food insecurity experienced by many Black Torontonians.
The City of Toronto is globally recognized as a food systems and equity leader, yet research continues to show that Black families are 3.5 times more likely to be food insecure compared to white families, with 36.6 per cent of Black children living in food insecure households.
High food insecurity rates have been linked to poor health outcomes, including an increased likelihood of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease and depression. Populations most affected by food insecurity have also been identified as being more vulnerable to COVID-19, putting Black populations at greater risk of contracting the virus.
This five-year plan is a community-led, municipally-supported initiative, supported by an interdivisional team working toward achieving three primary objectives:
The report and plan approved by Council specifically responds to the July 2020 Board of Health direction to develop a Black Food Sovereignty Plan that will increase access to healthy, affordable and culturally-appropriate food; and combat the root causes of food insecurity, to build increased resilience and wellbeing for Black communities to advance post-pandemic recovery efforts.
The report also responds to the June 2020 Board of Health declaration that recognized anti-Black racism as a public health crisis necessitating targeted action. The recommendations enclosed also seek to advance the realization of TO Prosperity, the City’s 20-year Poverty Reduction Strategy, and the City’s commitment to champion the United National International Decade for People of African Descent through addressing long-standing Black health disparities to improve development, justice and liberation for Black residents.
The implementation of the Plan will support the successful delivery of the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit’s year three work plan deliverables and year four priorities. City staff will report back to City Council, through the Economic and Community Development Committee, on the progress and implementation of the Plan as part of the annual reporting on the delivery of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism
The Toronto Black Food Sovereignty Plan can be found on the City’s website.
City Council’s decision will require the enactment of a confirmatory bylaw.
“With this plan, we want to positively impact the lives of Black Torontonians through increased access to food and health services, access to training and economic development and employment opportunities; and enhanced opportunities for civic engagement that will shape municipal decisions that impact their lives.”
– Mayor John Tory
“The Toronto Black Food Sovereignty Plan is based on a recommendation from the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism to improve food access for low-income, Black Torontonians. The Plan’s recommendations also address food insecurity issues outlined in TO Prosperity, the City of Toronto’s 20-year Poverty Reduction Strategy.”
– Deputy Mayor Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development committee
“Anti-Black racism is a public health crisis. Black families are more than three times as likely to face food insecurity as white families, with lasting impacts on key social determinants of health for Black residents and communities. The development and implementation of the Toronto Black Food Sovereignty Plan is an important step forward in addressing systemic racism and discrimination, and tackling the inequities that Black communities face when it comes to accessing healthy, affordable and culturally-appropriate food.”
– Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of Toronto’s Board of Health
“Today, as people of African descent in Toronto, we celebrate a historic event that Toronto City Council passed the Black Food Sovereignty Plan for Toronto. This is a celebration for all Black Canadians who live in Toronto. We have come together to assert our role in pioneering Black food sovereignty in Canada, and to discharge our duty to the people of African descent in the city of Toronto. The cultivation of the Toronto Black Food Sovereignty Plan is a vital step in helping us remove food injustice in the Black community. The food, climate, environmental, economic, democratic, and health crises that culminated with the COVID-19 pandemic show clearly to all humanity that a transformation of the current food system food model is vital. As activists, advocates, policymakers, service providers, researchers, and interested community members, let’s intensify our effort to ensure the implementation and the success of the Black Food Sovereignty Plan for Black communities in the future.”
– Anan Lololi, Executive Director, Afri-Can FoodBasket
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
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