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York Region Food Charter Toolkit

How to use this toolkit: We want to see every resident in York Region take at least 1 action that will help build a healthy food system for all. So, we’ve made it easier to take that leap with the release of the York Region Food Charter Toolkit. This short guide compliments the York Region Food Charter by offering ideas and insights to help you incorporate more good food into your daily life through the acts of eating, growing and sharing food at home, in the workplace, at school and within the community.  From how to eat seasonally and locally to tips on how to compost and healthy fundraising in schools, this toolkit arms you with links, initiatives and research that are suitable for our York Region communities. Every moment, decisions are made that can support a healthy food system. The resources and actions you find in this toolkit will help you identify how to enact each of the 5 values of the York Region Food Charter – Health and Wellbeing, Economic Opportunities, Environmental Sustainability, Social Justice and Equity, and Education and Skills. This document was developed as an online resource. As much as possible we have tried to link suggestions in this toolkit with additional online resources. URLs have been hyperlinked to ideas and initiatives listed throughout this document.  This toolkit has been prepared by the Food System Alliance in York Region. It intends to offer practical and simple suggestions that individuals and organizations can apply after endorsing the York Region Food Charter.   For more information about this group, visit www.yorkregionfoodcharter.com. 

Health and Wellbeing Cook Up Some Fun! offers recipes and tips to get your kids in the kitchen with you. Try a new fruit/veggie each week

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Take a cooking class at a nearby grocery store or through York Region Food Network

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Plan your meals. Learn how to read nutrition labels. Choose fresh foods more often

Environmental Sustainability Start or join a community garden Grow your own food at home Vermi­compost and/or backyard compost Join a Community Supported Agriculture Program Buy food from local farm markets

Education and Skills

Social Justice and Equity

Get to know your local farmers by shopping at farm gates or farmers' markets 

Learn about the Community Food Centre Canada approach for growing, cooking, sharing and advocating for good food 

Learn what's in season with Foodland Ontario's Availability Guide Enjoy Eat Right Ontario's recipe database

Listen to Ontario Public Health Association webinar: What To Do about Food Insecurity. Learn from Food Secure Canada about the Right to Food

Economic Opportunities Spend $10 each week on local food Ask for locally produced foods at your grocers Find or share homegrown produce with Ripe Near Me Use Greenbelt Fresh for a quick and easy way to find fresh local food for you and your family

Health and Wellbeing Speak to a dietitian about healthy food resources for your workplace.

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Revise procurement policies and practices to enhance consumption of local foods, such as adopting menu plans and recipes which coincide with the local harvest season. Offer nutrition information.

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Develop nutrition policies that encourage healthy eating.

Economic Opportunities Establish healthy food purchasing guidelines with caterers and food service vendors to increase the number of healthy, regionally grown food options in cafeterias, vending machines and at special events and meetings. 

Environmental Sustainability Skip the green bin. Establish a compost at your workplace. Start a food garden. Provides a positive outlet for employees physical and mental health.  Source locally grown foods for meetings.

Social Justice and Equity Advocate for a basic income guarantee so that everyone can afford to eat a healthy diet Become a food secure employer Consider endorsing the Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health Position Statement on Responses to Food Insecurity.

Endorsement page is here. Formally endorse the York Region Food Charter

Education and Skills Learn about the nine essential elements of a healthy Workplace Nutrition Environment.  Source locally grown foods for meetings. When using caterers, ask for foods to be prepared with locally grown produce and meats.

Health and Wellbeing Join a community garden Join Markham Homegrown Workshops  Share extra produce with neighbours and friends  Learn about urban agriculture and community garden initiatives throughout Ontario

community food growing toolkit growing good food at home & in the community

Environmental Sustainability Start a compost in your backyard or community garden Try gardening techniques such as permaculture or companion planting Help create a garden at your local school

Education and Skills

Social Justice and Equity

Share your surplus produce through Ripe Near Me

Lake Simcoe South Master Gardeners have a wealth of information to share. Join Master Gardeners or seek their advice Find your local seed library in Richmond Hill, Markham, Newmarket and Aurora Plant heirloom varieties or species native to your region

Economic Opportunities

Listen to Ontario Public Health Association webinar about what to do about food insecurity. Visit the website PROOF ­ food insecurity policy research to learn about food insecurity in Canada.

Look for farm and/or kitchen incubation sites if you're interested in taking your food growing to a commercial level

school toolkit Inspire students (and teachers) to eat their vegetables

Health and Wellbeing Classes or schools can sign up for Bright Bites to make it easier to improve school nutrition York Region Food for Learning may be a good fit for your school Cooking is for every age: Six by Sixteen Sign the Ontario Home Economics Association's (OHEA) petition to make one food and nutrition course mandatory for all Ontario students

Environmental Sustainability Start seeds with your students. Plant in containers or start a school food garden. Educate on the benefits of compost on school grounds or bringing a vermi­compost into the classroom. See YRFN's Worm Share or Cathy's Crawly Composters

Economic Opportunities

Social Justice and Equity

Education and Skills

Fresh from the Farm: Fundraise with locally produced foods

Advocate for universal student nutrition programs

See if York Region's You're the Chef Program may be a good fit for your school

Buy local when purchasing for breakfast/snack programs in schools

Consider endorsing the Ontario Society of Nutrition Professional in Public Health Position Statement  on Responses to Food Insecurity.

Endorsement page is here. Formally endorse the York Region Food Charter

Integrate food into lessons. Participate in Ontario Agri­Food Education Inc. Teacher Ambassador Program

Health and Wellbeing Serve only healthy foods in community places and spaces such as recreation centres Re­examine by­laws around schools to make access to unhealthy foods more difficult for children and youth Support measures that facilitate active transportation as a means of accessing healthy food

decision makers toolkit access to good food is the foundation of healthy communities

Environmental Sustainability Promote and maintain long­term community garden projects and local neighbourhood markets Buy local. Develop and support local food procurement policies Facilitate the diversion of waste from the municipal garbage stream (e.g. Promote backyard composting)

Education and Skills

Social Justice and Equity

Economic Opportunities

Support collaborations working to create sustainable food systems

Letters written by local groups can influence the provincial and federal government. Here is a sample letter written to advocate for adequate incomes to address the root cause of food insecurity.

Advocate for policies and funding that supports agri­tourism

Attend educational and networking events hosted by Food System Alliance in York Region, Sustain Ontario, Food Secure Canada, York Region Food Network Consult the agricultural and food community in planning processes

Formally endorse the York Region Food Charter Advocate for income support programs such as Basic Income

Re­examine by­laws that prohibit growers from producing and selling local foods


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York Region Food Charter Toolkit  

This toolkit has been prepared by the Food System Alliance in York Region. It intends to offer practical and simple suggestions that individ...

York Region Food Charter Toolkit  

This toolkit has been prepared by the Food System Alliance in York Region. It intends to offer practical and simple suggestions that individ...

Profile for kateg4