Toronto Food Policy Council

At a Glance:

  • The Toronto Food Policy Council (TFPC) was created in 1991 as a sub-committee of the Board of Health and continues to function today.
  • It is an intersectoral roundtable council representing a diversity of values and experiences including: the farm/rural sector, antipoverty activists, community organizations, food systems analysts, conventional and organic business sectors, education, labour, multicultural organizations, Toronto Board of Health, and municipal politicians.
  • Lessons Learnt: engage diverse stakeholders and create structures and processes that support the integration of diverse perspectives on food and agriculture that are conventionally seen as isolated or independent issues.


Toronto is recognized internationally as a municipal food policy leader. Over the past two decades, the TFPC has worked to ensure that Torontonians have access to healthy, sustainable, affordable and culturally appropriate food. It connects diverse stakeholders from the food, farming, community and governance sectors to identify emerging food issues, promote food system innovation, and facilitate policy development and action towards a health-focused food system.

Projects & Initiatives of the Toronto Food Policy Council

As of 2020, these include:

  • Policy & Advocacy: TFPC has made significant contributions to the Toronto Food Charter which is articulates City Council’s commitment to food security. It is the community reference group for the Toronto Food Strategy team, advising on strategy development and implementation and has been working with Sustain Ontario to advocate for a Local Food Act to increase production and consumption of local food in Ontario.
  • Agriculture: TFPC helped develop and implement an action plan for moving urban agriculture forward including linking growers with space, strengthening education and training, increasing visibility, adding value, cultivating partnerships, and developing supportive policies. TFPC actively participates on the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Agriculture Action Committee which works to achieve sustainable, long-term agriculture industry within the GTA. It also participated in the development of the Greater Golden Horseshoe Farm and Food (GGHFF) Action Plan which “identifies pathways for a more integrated and coordinated approach to food and farming viability in the area”
  • Community Engagement: TFPC supports the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council which seeks to engage and mobilize youth to build a just food system by providing space, sharing opportunities and hosting two permanent Youth seats on the TFPC. In partnership with Toronto Public Health and industry, TFPC is part of ‘Feeding Diversity’ that aims to make culturally-appropriate vegetables more widely available in underserved neighbourhoods and strives to substitute these often imported foods with locally grown versions. The Food by Ward initiative documents food assets and opportunities across the city compiled as an interactive map including emergency food programs, community food services, local food retail, children’s meals programs, community gardens, and urban agriculture.

The work of the Toronto Food Policy Council is noteworthy for its longevity and scope. It has also been widely and carefully studied to identify and share learning and insights from their experience. This research is available on their website.

What Else? Other Relevant Examples

Food for Thought
What diverse perspectives and concerns do you juggle in your role?
What insights on working in multi-stakeholder, intersectoral spaces might apply to your work?
What are the local municipal policies in your area and how do these affect what you do?

Contact Information
Website:                                 Email:
Facebook: Toronto Food Policy Council         Twitter: @TOfoodpolicy
Address: 277 Victoria Street, Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W2

NeverEndingFood Permaculture (Malawi)

At a Glance

  • NeverEndingFood (NEF) Permaculture is a home and community outreach that demonstrates approaches to all aspects of sustainable living, focused on resources indigenous to Malawi.
  • People create sustainable designs for their homes, offices, schools, churches, cities, etc. such as food forests, fuel efficient kitchens, water harvesting, composting toilets etc. for diverse production of foods, fuel, fodder, fibres, medicines, etc. for better nutrition, water and soil conservation and to transition away from synthetic seed and chemical inputs.

In April of 1997, Stacia and Kristof Nordin came to Malawi through the U.S. Peace Corps to do HIV prevention work. Stacia is a Registered Dietitian and Kristof is a social worker by training. Over time, they came to see HIV in the way that the village they were in saw it—as part of a whole. They began to see that a disease that attacks the immune system is connected to malnutrition that compromises the immune system which is connected to the diversity of foods being grown locally which is connected to soil fertility and fresh water availability and so on—an interconnected cycle.

During this time they were introduced to the concepts of permaculture which emphasize:

  1. Care for the earth
  2. Care for people
  3. Fair share of all resources

The Nordins, joined by their daughter Khalidwe in 2001, integrate permaculture into all aspects of their life. They created NeverEndingFood (NEF), their home in Chitedze, a small village about 30 km from the capital city, Lilongwe. Their home serves as a permaculture demonstration as well as a space to train interns and host visitors.

At NEF, they implement a well-design system that provide perennial, year-round access to diverse and nutritious foods and medicines. This approach helps families be more self-sufficient, have access to better nutrition, save money by reducing dependency on expensive agricultural inputs, and access additional income through food processing, diversified markets and unique product ideas. They multiply indigenous resources and share them for others to multiply further.

The advent of input-dependent, mono-culture farming on much of Malawi’s agricultural land led to an agricultural focus and dependence on maize as the primary crop. In spite of being blessed with a tropical climate and plentiful water, most farms now produce one maize crop a year leading to malnutrition due to the reliance on a single crop for the bulk of people’s nutritional needs. In line with traditional farming practices around the world, permaculture diversifies agriculture production to include local fruits and vegetables, animals and animal products, spices and fibres. This improves nutrition while conserving water, improving soil fertility and converting organic matter into a resource!

The Nordins believe that “all solutions come from the people themselves, which helps to provide the self-confidence and ownership that it will take to address future problems in a sustainable way.” Along with the work happening in Chitedze, the efforts and relationships at NEF have initiated and inspired many other projects that use an integrated permaculture approach to address sustainability and nutrition. Recognizing and incorporating these interconnections means that many of the initiatives simultaneously contribute to healthier and more diverse ecosystems, better human health and nutrition, community wellness, and economic resilience.

Food for Thought
What indigenous species do YOU know where YOU are? How are the global, industrialized food and agriculture systems influencing food production in your area?
Keeping these broader systems in mind, what solutions do you see that offer synergistic improvements in nutrition AND sustainability? 

Contact Information
Stacia and Kristof Nordin

updated 2023 April