Many of these talented ladies have left established careers to pursue the local food platform, to support our local food shed and educate our local food community. Take Seema Pabari from Tiffinday, Christine Manning from Manning Canning, Dina Rock from Mighty Fine Brine, Christy Conte from Bix Bakery and Evis Chowira from Mnandi Pies, Rebekka from Alchemy Pickle Co. and Jennifer Johnston from Fisherfolk - these ladies all took a leap of faith into the local food movement and we are lucky to have to them and so many many more!
The gals who are farming are incredibly full of strength and resilience. Some exploring agriculture as a new career while others are carrying on a family legacy and inspiring more women to step into the fields. Just a few of the many women who come to mind; Cindy Hope from Crosswind Farm, Arlene Hazzan Green from Backyard Urban Farm Co., Carrie Nicols from Garlic Girl, Pina Demeria from Albion Hills Farm, Syvlia Stoddard from Stoddart Farms, Mimi Bizjak from Bizjak Farms, Blythe Weber from Spade and Spoon and Mélisanne Loiselle-Gascon from Canopy Educational Gardens.
There are the women who have founded and supported local farmers' markets; one of the most important venues for local food in the city. I am proud to have been mentored, inspired and educated by many of the women including Anne Freeman, Elizabeth Harris, Corry Ouelette, Mary Margaret MacMahon, Janiki Hadida, Katie Hortobyagi and Susana Molinolo.
And then there are the women that educate, communicate and visually archive the local food movement. They capture our attention when it comes to local food issues, tell the story of farmers and producers, teach us how to extend the value of our food, inspire us to shop locally, educate us on local food issues and promote a new generation of women in food. Mélissane from Canopy Education has dedicated her farming practice to teaching others, primarily women, about agriculture practices and will be sure to launch some of our most successful new female farmers. Gail Gordon Oliver who has dedicated her career to local food through her brilliant publication Edible Toronto. Sarah Elton, author of Localvore, Consumed and Starting from Scratch and CBC journalist focusing on local food producers. Lisa Kates, photographer and writer who visually captures our local food scene and tells the stories of local food producers so well. Lorainne Johnston, author of City Farmer, who writes about urban agriculture and farming. Sarah B Hood, author of We Sure Can, culinary journalism teacher, culinary historian and avid photographer and so many more who have dedicated their talents to the local food movement.
The success of these women hasn't and doesn't come without hurdles. As I spoke with one farmer friend this week, she contemplated going back to the office. "Most of us" she said, " are having to piece together a living, it's a struggle –– many of us are underemployed." Cheryl from Canadian Women in Food shared that out of 1,000,000,000 food industry jobs in Canada 600,000 of those are held by women. Yet we are still underrepresented in the media. Anytime women in food are featured in the media it's a win because it helps us build more sustainable and viable food businesses in Canada.
Sometimes, I have –- you will -– we all will –– take for granted the dedication and effort these women put forth to grow, prepare, and fight for local food in our province.
So this week at the market, stop by say hi to and shop with our stellar, stupendous, super-hero line-up of female food producers!
If you want to learn more about women in food or food security check out these fabulous organizations:
Canadian Women in Food
Toronto Food Policy Council
Toronto Youth Food Policy
Vendors this Week
P & V - Warner's Orchard
Rolling Hills Organics
Albion Hills Farm
Wicklow Way Farm
Canopy Educational Gardens
Cross Wind Farm/Gunn's Hill Cheese
Mighty Fine Brine
Bix Bakery, Sorbetto
Blackbird Baking Co.
Brian Hamlin Honey
Grilled Cheese and Waffle Shack
Pitchfork Company Lemonade Stand
Upper Beach Health and Wellness