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Feeding the City

Documenting Food System Experiences, Community Challenges & Local Resilience During COVID-19 and Beyond

The Project: Feeding the City

Feeding the City is a project that brings together academic researchers from Ryerson University, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Toronto, Trent University, and a range of community partners. We are tracking how food growers and buyers, community food providers, and civil society organizations in the Greater Toronto Area are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the ways they are responding to maintain food access and alleviate food insecurity. We are collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data from farmers and urban growers, food workers, vulnerable sections of food consumers, agri-food networks, and social enterprises.

Our goal is to understand how local communities are meeting the challenges of this pandemic, to learn how they can best be supported, and to consider how current experiences inform transformative changes that are required in the food system.


We are looking at these five points of interest:

1) Urban growing

2) Produce supply chains

3) Local agriculture and farm-consumer connections

4) Healthy food to children and youth with schools closed

5) Priority Neighbourhood food security


Click the following links to view past webinar events:

"Feeding the City: Urban Agriculture, School and Community Food Programs"

"Feeding the City: Voices from Local Grocery Stores and Public Markets in a Diverse City"


Project Lead
Jo (Jayeeta) Sharma (UofT)


Project Manager
Bryan Dale (UofT)


Team Members
Dan Bender (UofT)
Jeffrey M. Pilcher (UofT)
Ken MacDonald (UofT)
Harriet Friedmann (UofT)


Project Collaborators
Sarah Elton (Ryerson U)
Rachel Engler-Stronger (U Sask.)
Jaclyn Rohel (UofT)
Michael Kessler (UofT)
Michael Classens (Trent U)
Mary Anne Martin (Trent U)
Akua Agyemang (Trent U)


Organization Partners
Debbie Field (Ryerson U), Coalition for Healthy School Food
Phonda Teitel-Payne, Toronto Urban Growers
Marina Quierolo, Toronto Food Policy Council


Digital Team
Joel Dickau (UofT)
Juan Jose Lloren (UofT)
Stella-Luna Ha (UofT)


Junior Researchers
Amira Namasivayam (UofT)
Joseph Cammisuli (UofT)
Shirin Arghandeh (UofT)
Lynne Chia (UofT)
Ruth Siew (UofT)
Angela Gong (UofT)
Madeleine Frechette (UofT)
Hannah Mercer (UofT)
Sterling Stutz (UofT)
Eleonora Gagliardi (UofT)
Jeffrey Liu (UofT)
Chelsea Wong (UofT)


Funding for this project comes from the Scarborough and Toronto COVID-19 Rapid-Team Action Initiative, the Department of Historical & Cultural Studies at UTSC, and the Culinaria Research Centre.





Priority Neighbourhood Food Security

We are collecting data & developing surveys to identify neighbourhoods in urgent need of food, funds, and volunteers during this pandemic.


Getting Healthy Food to Children & Youths...

We are working with community-school partnerships to develop closure-access best practices, working towards a universal school food program.


Local Agriculture and Farm-Consumer Connections

We are investigating how small-scale farmers can be integrated into the existing food supply chains in the city's present and future.


Produce Supply Chains

We are conducting a longitudinal study of the Ontario Food Terminal, monitoring changes to access of local and global foods.


Urban Growing

Our team is working with Toronto Urban Growers to implement health protocols and plans for successful urban growing during the pandemic.