By: Agatha Podgorski for OCTA, a ‘Certified Good Food Fighter

Eating seems to be getting really difficult. Every day we’re faced with big, moral, ethical, and not to mention personal questions when standing in the grocery aisle. Where is our food from? How was it made? What rare lynx was harmed in the gathering, transporting, storing of this flawless, shiny mango-tangerine hybrid?

Last night’s event at The University of Toronto proved it doesn’t have to be this way. Students enrolled in Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Applied Illustration degree, working in partnership with Sustain Ontario, showed us why. With their help, we can make good choices easy. These students were given a final assignment to create info-graphics that explore the current generation’s ‘food crisis.’ The beautiful posters and animations made big questions accessible for everyone, especially children. Did you know that bees can only fly a maximum of eight miles? Or that, one pound of beef creates 20lbs of CO2 emissions? We were gingerly scolded about how much useless waste we city folks produce, while our farmers struggle to make ends meat—meat that has 40 times the carbon footprint as a bag of lentils. A favourite was the unmasking of the so-called healthy drink Vitamin Water as having calories comparable to that of a Mars Bar. Animating Good Food Ideas was the initiative, and despite the blizzard, it was a success.

The graphics were complimented by delicious local goodies like sweet potato fritters with pear compote, Akiwenzie Smoked Whitefish and Wild Leek Rilette on Squash Pancakes and Tamworth pork and cherry terrine by Chef Jason Inniss – all washed down with plenty of local apple cider. As the night went on, the message was clear: local is better (and delicious!).

It all ended with a screening of Helena Norberg-Hodge’s film The Economics of Happiness, and panel discussion with Helena, local chef and food activist Joshna Maharaj, and Eric Rosenkrantz of Matchbox Garden & Seed Co. Wayne Roberts, former head of the Toronto Food Policy Council moderated the panel, while Lauren Baker hosted the evening. Congratulations to Wayne must also be had on his retirement from the TFPC, though knowing Wayne, his involvement in the Toronto Local Food movement is far from over. Wayne was honoured with a poster, as well as a jar of honey from the buildings own apiary—a fitting gift.

The big questions we’re asked to ask in grocery aisles seemed to only have one answer – go local. The mass amounts of redundant trade and global business happening all over the world is ruining all our lives. It’s all about supporting local food, local business, and understanding that local life breeds community, well-being, and most importantly, happiness.

For more information on the Good Food Ideas initiative, check out:

And, if you were not one of the 200 plus people packed into the William Doo Auditorium at New College last night, check out: for more information of this beautiful film.