Foodprint Toronto

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Saturday, July 31, 2010, 12.30–5.00 p.m., Artscape Wychwood Barns, Toronto. Click here for more information.

Foodprint Toronto is the second in a series of international conversations about food and the city. When you look at the city through the lens of food, what do you see?

Following on the success of its first event, Foodprint NYC, which was held in front of a packed house at Columbia University’s Studio-X earlier this year, the program for Foodprint Toronto will include four panel discussions: Zoning Diet, a conversation about the ways zoning, policy, and economics shape Toronto’s food systems; Culinary Cartography, an exploration of what can we learn when we map Toronto using food as the metric, Edible Archaeology, a look at Toronto’s food history in the context of the present; and Feast, Famine, and Other Scenarios — a chance to speculate on the opportunities and challenges of Toronto’s possible food futures.

In order to create truly lively, passionate, and thought-provoking panel discussions, Rich and Twilley are bringing together a range of panelists whose work deals with the same issues from very different points of view. In addition to food producers such as First Nations fisherpeople Natasha and Andrew Akiwenzie, and practicing architects such as Lola Sheppard and Robert Wright, panelists include food activists (Kathryn Scharf of The Stop Community Food Centre), writers (John Knechtel of Alphabet City Media and Shawn Micallef of Spacing magazine, for example), policy makers (Barbara Emanuel of the Toronto Board of Health), business consultants (Michael Wolfson of the Toronto Food Business Incubator) and many others.

Foodprint Toronto audience members can expect an afternoon of debate that provides context for today’s food headlines and fresh insight into the challenges and opportunities of feeding the Toronto of tomorrow. According to Nicola Twilley, Foodprint Toronto’s co-curator, “With the Toronto Board of Health having just formally adopted a new city-wide food strategy, the timing couldn’t be better for a truly cross-disciplinary discussion that explores the past, present, and future of food and the city.” Co-curator Sarah Rich adds, “There’s so much we’re looking forward to talking about in Toronto: from the fight for street food to the transportation infrastructure of the Ontario Food Terminal, and from the evolution of school meals to the challenge of scaling up urban agriculture.”

The Foodprint Project was born out of Rich and Twilley’s shared frustration that, despite the current proliferation of food-themed events, conferences, and debates, the hidden corsetry that shapes food and cities is rarely, if ever, discussed. Zoning, economics, infrastructure, culture, history, transportation, demographics, policy, access — all of these forces intersect within our food systems, which in turn shape and are shaped by the cities in which we live. As humankind becomes an increasingly urban species (the population of the Greater Toronto Area is projected to grow to 8.6 million by 2031), cities face a pressing and unsolved challenge: how to feed their citizens sustainably at scale?