Mayoral Candidate and current Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone officially launched his food platform on August 18th 2010. As a symbolic gesture, he signed Sustain Ontario’s Food Declaration on top of the Hugh Garner Residential Co-op Rooftop garden – the largest residential rooftop garden in Toronto. Pantalone presented the signed declaration, adapted from Sustain Ontario’s election toolkit (outlining his commitment to make food and farming a central part of his platform) to Darcy Higgins of Food Forward and Lauren Baker of Sustain Ontario.
Pantalone believes that Toronto is on the cusp of change and the importance of building and supporting local food infrastructure can no longer be ignored. In a city like Toronto, where one out of ten households cannot afford healthy meals, he believes that the new mayor of Toronto should “walk the walk and not just talk the talk”. Pantalone’s platform for food prosperity in Toronto includes among other things:
- Doubling the amount of community gardens in the city;
- Planting 1000 fruit trees in parks;
- Support regional agriculture by increasing the number of farmers markets in the city;
- Increasing city funding of school nutrition programs;
- Building at least two more community food centres one in the east end and another in the northwest.
Pantalone ensured that the food served at the event came from within 100-miles of the GTA. Also in attendance at the event was Katie Mathieu, a rooftop farmer who grows food for “Parts and Labour” a Toronto restaurant. The event progressed from the Toronto “Eat In” organized by Food Forward which Pantalone attended on July 29th 2010. His commitment to food and farming in his platform clearly demonstrates a victory for the Food election campaign led by Sustain Ontario, Food Forward and their partners. Sustain Ontario’s municipal food election toolkit, which urges municipal political candidates to consider food, and farming in their election campaign has now been adapted in the province of Manitoba. Who will be the next candidate to include food and farming considerations in their platform?