Food Report

Food Connections, Toronto’s Food System of the Future

On Friday, I attended a workshop hosted by Toronto Public Health on food strategy issues for the city of Toronto. There was a plethora of wonderful ideas brought forth, which would make Toronto a better city for all. Better quality food, better use of urban space, better accessibility of quality food. I was there to talk about how backyard hens could fit into this strategy of a health-focused food system. It was interesting to note that backyard hens meet the requirements of a healthier food system on many levels. Some of the factors mentioned were as follows:

  1. Being able to afford enough safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food.
  2. Having the information to make healthy food choices.
  3. Having easy access to quality food stores in the neighbourhood.
  4. Living in a city where food brings neighbours together and builds links between city and countryside.
  5. Being assured that all stages of the food system support the environment.

As you could see, backyard hens really are a perfect fit.

Here is a copy of the consultation paper; Food Report Feb ’12. It is interesting and sad to note the disconnect between food and health in this day and age. There is quote from Wendell Berry, an American philosopher of food and farming, on page 11 of the attached report: “we have a health system that doesn’t care about food and a food system that doesn’t care about health”. Have you ever seen the food served in hospitals? It seems they have completely lost touch with the fact that healthy food is healing. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” said Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine two-and-a-half thousand years ago.

It is our hope that the final report will include a recommendation that backyard hens be legalized in the city of Toronto. Remember, eggs from backyard hens have: 1/3 less cholesterol, 2/3 more vitamin A, 3 times more vitamin E, 7 times more beta carotene and 2 times more Omega 3 fatty acids. A chicken coop at every hospital perhaps?

If you would like to support this effort, please check back for dates of public meetings that we could all attend.


  • Sar says:

    Oh! I wish I had known about this – I would have loved to attend.

  • JF says:

    Hi !

    I just wanted to say great job on the site.. it’s people like you who make a difference..

    On another note, I’m wondering if you could help..

    Sorry to write on your wall, but not sure where to go .. I live in a rural farming community north of Toronto, Ontario and am now surprisingly fighting currently fighting a zoning by-law that prohibits chickens in our small town. I have 5 hens, a beautiful coop (painted, looks like a house), and extremely clean. I recently received an anonymous complaint (the coward) and now have to remove my chickens in two weeks or will be fined. I noticed the article about Mary March in Calgary and her fight (in court tomorrow, I believe). The by-law officer didn’t agree with the laws and said that it was stupid I had to get rid of them.. but he still has to enforce the law. Any advice from a fellow urban chicken owner ? Btw, I checked the law before and there was no mention, but apparently missed the zoning by-law.. which is still very cryptic.. you can email me directly at ‘’ . Much thx for any advice you can give! JF

  • Anonymous says:

    the keeping of chickens is legal under the canadian bill of rights you have the right to own property under common law domestic animals are consider property chickens are the number one domestic animal in the world there are 24 billion toronto councelliors should read the bill of rights its a no brainer

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