Corp Comm Connects


Digging in to nutritious food ideas in York Region
March 12, 2015
By Chris Simon

There were a few forking good ideas shared in Newmarket Thursday.

The York Region Food Charter Working Group’s fourth annual Food for Change: Forking Good Ideas educational event took place at the Newmarket Community Centre and Lions Hall. A variety of topics, aimed at improving local access to affordable and nutritious food, were discussed.

About 90 people attended the event.

“It gives people who wouldn’t normally come together a shared space for networking and to be inspired by food,” Food Charter co-ordinator Kate Greavette said.

“Food is important for every age. Our message is (food literacy) has to be at home, in schools and everywhere you go in the community. There has to be food information available. We’re developing conversation skills. Healthy eating and eating local is about building healthier communities.”

Residents can make wise choices about their food once they understand what ingredients they are consuming, as well as where the product comes from. And there are positive economic and environmental spinoffs from purchasing locally raised food, she said.

Guest speakers also highlighted the state of the current food system, touching on existing compost solutions, seed libraries, immigration services and the value of using locally grown products.

Seed Library Commons founder Jacob Kearey-Moreland also pushed for a Canadian food strategy.

“We (need to) have some kind of national leadership to help small communities with limited resources so we’re not always working in silos, often in competition with one another,” he said. “We need to focus our limited resources and support one another. It’s really important we recognize our own power to effect change in all ways we can.”

York Region environmental services representative Leslie Gilbert stressed the importance of diverting waste from landfills through the upper tier municipality’s organics collection program.

In 2013, the region diverted 58.6 per cent of its residential waste from landfills, with 27.8 per cent of that coming from green bins.

“When food goes into the garbage, it ends up in landfills and turns into methane,” she said. “You’re generating the most potent greenhouse gas.”

Seeds for Change and York Region Food Network also officially announced a merger at the event.

“Both organizations have the same belief that food is a powerful tool to connect people and communities,” Greavette said. “This merger is a means by which we can strengthen and expand our urban agriculture efforts within the region, and respond to community’s demand for more food growing spaces.”

For more information on the network or charter, visit