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Food For Change: A Demonstration Marches on it's Stomach


One of the major success stories of Occupy Toronto is the Food Team. It started from a sign up list at the general assembly last week, and is now feeding 1000 meals a day to hungry activists and some locals from a white tent by St. James Cathedral.

Colleen was serving out food, sorting out the compost, and fielding questions from journalists.  “There’s been a constant flow of food in and out of there.” she said. “The supply from the community, individuals, even corporations has been amazing.  I don’t think that 10 minutes have gone by without a donation of some kind coming in here”. Anthony, also from the food team, agreed “We’ve had all kinds of donations from people dropping off large amounts of food to little old ladies with ten homemade cookies”.

Antonin is another ‘foodie’ who was taken aback by the amount of public support. “I’ve been doing activism stuff for a few years, not in a major way but in am minor way.’ he said. But I’ve never seen this level of support for something. Its like everybody has been waiting for something likes this and people from all places all ages have been coming together under Occupy Toronto. I can tell you if the donations are any indication, all of Toronto supports us.”

In addition to food being dropped off, they have a fleet or four vehicles to pick up donations and supplies. At 11 PM team members were serving filling vegan soup with potatoes, some of them having been working hard since early morning.  Vegetarian or vegan food is the order of the day, both because it’s easier to handle non-meat and because many of the protesters are vegan.

Much of the food is being cooked off-site in commercial kitchens who have donated the use of their space to the occupy movement. Three commercial chefs are also cooking. Some food team members have experience cooking for large groups of activists, such as Amanda Gabrielle, who has been doing food activism for a few years now at OCAD U, with Food Not Bombs and feeding thousands of people at a Rainbow Gathering. For others it’s brand new: Anthony is utilizing organizational skills that he gained through running his own business.  Colleen used to work at Loblaws. I asked her how volunteering for the food team was different from working there: “We don’t even have a schedule, but yet there is always someone here.  A lot of people talk about how people need money to motivate them to work, but I say that’s bullshit.  We had people cleaning dishes for hours and hours here. If people do things for love then you get way more out of it. At Loblaws my motivation was my paycheque. But here my motivation is the human race.



Message from the food team: "We just cooked 350 lbs of raw material for the movement, in off-site commercial kitchens. If we get more places to cook we can keep this going forever. The Food team needs commercial kitchens! If you can help, write"

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Megan Kinch (Megan Kinch)
Toronto Ontario
Member since December 2009


is a writer and editor with the Toronto Media Co-op.

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