Immigrant inclusion in the Toronto alternative food movement

MA research project 2015-2016 – Jillian Linton

This project will focus on diversity in the alternative food movement in Toronto. In recent years, the study of the alternative food movement in North America has increasingly critiqued the lack of racial diversity in many of these organizations (Slocum 2007, Guthman 2008). While these scholars focused on race, there are few studies directly focusing on immigrants and their role in these movements. Toronto is both a hub for these alternative food organizations and immigrants, who made up 46% of the population as of 2011, yet recent immigrants remain a vulnerable group. A 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey found that almost 15% of recent immigrant households reported moderate or severe food insecurity, higher than non-immigrants. Other scholars have identified this group as vulnerable, particularly due to language barriers and income issues (Vahabi et al. 2011).  The project that I propose will focus specifically on food organizations that support diversity within Toronto’s alternative food movement. It will aim to determine the prevalence of recent immigrants and their roles in such organizations. It will also study if and how these organizations are accounting for immigrants in programming.  This project aims to determine the ways in which immigrants interact with these organizations in hopes of finding strategies to better connect alternative food organizations’ benefits with immigrant populations.


Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 2.2, Nutrition (2004)— Income-Related Household Food Security in Canada. Health Canada.

Guthman, J. (2008). “If They Only Knew”: Color Blindness and Universalism in California Alternative Food Institutions. The Professional Geographer. 60.3, 387-397.

National Household Survey, Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada. (2011). Statistics Canada

Slocum, R. (2007). Whiteness, Space and Alternative Food Practice. Geoforum, 38.3, 520-533.

 Vahabi, M., Damba, C., Rocha, C., Montoya, E. (2011). Food Insecurity Among Latin American Recent Immigrants in Toronto, Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, October 2011, 13.5, 929-939