Governments Spend More on Bombs, Not Food, Decades after Cold War and Atomic Bombing

Visiting Japan a few years ago changed the way I look at the difference between conventional and nuclear war. On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima became the target for the first atomic bomb dropped on civilian populations, a chilling example of the use of non-conventional weapons. That moment is now commemorated around the world every August. [...]

Packaging “tax” — or is it fee? — comes to Ontario

Every time I see a shopper at the checkout counter stuff an armful of food into a purse or briefcase, I’m reminded how far Canadians will stretch themselves to save the five cent tax on plastic bags and do the right thing to cust back on packaging waste. Now we’re being asked to stretch some [...]

Wayne Roberts’ Secret Retirement Recipe for Successful Food Policy Councils

The following remarks were delivered by Wayne at a June 29 party of 130 people celebrating his ten years with the Toronto Food Policy Council and Toronto Public Health. Liz Janzen, the recently retired director of Toronto Public Health, who did so much to champion the Toronto Food Policy Council and many other bold initiatives, [...]

What If Oil Subsidies Were Phased Out by G-20 Leaders?

Every minute of the thousand minutes of meeting time by the G20 muckety mucks costs Canadian taxpaying hosts a million dollars, critics complain. But the Return on Investment could be as high as 557 to 1 if G20 governments gathered in Toronto follow their own pledge from last year’s meet in Pittsburgh, which pledged to [...]

Feast & Famine: Shifting to a Sustainable Food System

The Canadian International Council, Toronto Branch & The Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto present Feast Famine: Shifting to a Sustainable Food System. Featured Panelists: Professor Harriet Friedmann, Fellow, Demarcus Lawrence Womens Jersey Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto Rosemary McCarney, President & CEO, Plan Canada Dr. Wayne Roberts, Toronto Food Policy Council Margaret [...]

Iggy fails taste test: Libs new food policy breaks ground but is low on basics

Canadian Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff released his proposed national food policy on April 26. Policy-wise, the dish makes for slim pickin’s, mostly overcooked, a bit stale, loaded with artificial sweeteners and flavors, low on basic nutrients. But that’s not the point. Ignatieff is Canada’s first major political leader to stake out ground for the next [...]

The Stress of Food Bank Food

I was  fully prepared for several days of poor eats when I took part in the Stop Community Food Centre’s Do the Math media stunt earlier this April, when ten well-known Torontonians signed on to stretch a three day ration of food bank grub for as long as possible. But I was shocked by how [...]

Eating Your Pride on a Welfare Diet

(Adapted from NOW Magazine, 2000-1) When I went on a welfare diet last week, I didn’t realize just how quickly I would have to swallow my pride. At the request of Daily Bread Food Bank, about 20 politicians, journalists and policy wonks agreed to try eating on the same budget as people on social assistance. [...]

Governments Continue Tax Breaks for Junk Foods and Over-packaging

Most people think of food as tax-free, but it’s not. The issue is not so much the absence of taxes on food, but the lack of purpose behind them.  The general public calls such levies tax grabs. Among fans of smart public policy, they’re called dumb taxes. The federal government, with which most provinces will [...]

“If Id Known You Were Comin…” The Role of Food and Hospitality in Community Development

Here is a great presentation by Wayne Demarcus Lawrence Womens Jersey regarding the role of food Demarcus Lawrence Youth Jersey and hospitality in community development. Demarcus Lawrence Kids Jersey He talks about the role food policy experts can take in understanding the global tradition of “breaking bread” and how  food bolsters connection and community with [...]

First Lady Obama Will Have Weightier Impact on Health Debates than Hubby

President Barack Obama’s efforts at reforming the U.S. approach to medical care won’t win many imitators in other countries. Indeed, he’s likely to be upstaged in global health debates by First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity. Lady Obama launched a Let’s Move anti-obesity campaign on February 9, and is already catching up with [...]

Science Does a Re-run of 1950s Modernism

The best publisher’s freebie on the ’Net these days is the February special issue of Science devoted to Food Security. But, as with all things gratis, it rolls out a welcome mat to something else that should raise more questions than gratitude for the free pass. It’s an indicator of the potential of the emerging [...]

Black Is the New Black: The Rise of the Terra Preta Underground

After the failure of world leaders to produce a climate protection plan in Copenhagen, burnt offerings and negative thinking can keep us positive. The burnt offering is a breakthrough that can buy time by getting carbon dioxide from rotting plants out of the air and into the ground. Move over carbon-neutral – yesterday’s watchword, and [...]

The Unknown Earthquake in Haiti’s Countryside

March, when next season’s crops are due to be planted in Haiti, is less than a month away. For the tens of thousands who have left the rubble and despair of Haiti’s capital to find shelter in some 500 camps throughout the countryside, it could be their chance to plant a new life for themselves [...]

The Edible City

Wayne will be speaking about his essay in The Demarcus Lawrence Womens Jersey Edible City at the Hart House Library and Literary Committee meeting on Demarcus Lawrence Youth Jersey March 1 from 7 – 8:30 in the Hart House Debates room. More details Demarcus Lawrence Kids Jersey found here!

The Problem Behind the Obesity Problem Keeps Getting Bigger

I went to school at a time when overweight was much rarer than sensitivity. We used to play a prank where we asked newcomers if they knew a way to lose ten pounds of ugly fat. Cut off your head, we’d roar. The error in scientific method that underlies this feeble joke is called “the [...]

The Priceless Value of Nothing

A review of Raj Patel, The Value of Nothing: Why Everything Costs so Much More Than We Think (Harper Collins) I can barely contain my enthusiasm for Raj Patel’s book on the failings of market-driven societies, but at this stage of my and my younger daughter’s life, all I can think is: what a terrific [...]


The British government raised the bar on New Year’s Resolutions on January 4 when it released its 20 years worth of pledges in Food 2030. Eat more fruits and veg, lose weight, buy local, sustainable and fair trade, grow your own, stop wasting so much, make full use of people power… the list goes on. [...]

Will food and Ag Come out of the Shadows at Copenhagen?

Money talks, power whispers – it’s a norm of politics that may be challenged at the Copenhagen conference, which will decide if the world’s power brokers are ready to adopt a treaty in time to prevent irreversible climate pollution. For the dozen years since the Kyoto protocol of 1997 was adopted, someone or other has [...]

Women Ignored in Climate Change at Copenhagen

Women hold up half the sky, claims an old saying, coined long before the world’s skies were filled with global warming gases. My sense is that from now on, they will have to hold up a lot more. The absence of debate on this gendered slant to global warming is a silence piled upon silences [...]

Nine Billion Ain’t the Start of It

Any number multiplied by 27 billion will be fairly big, so the prospects of the planet coming up with three meals a day for nine billion humans on the planet some 40 years from now has some people worried. The worrying went mainstream during 2007 when a sudden hike in the price of groceries fomented [...]

How Toronto Found Its Food Groove


The following is an excerpt, written by Wayne, and edited by Christina Palassio and Alana Wilcoxfor The Edible City: Toronto’s Food from Farm to Fork. The Edible City: Toronto’s Food from Farm to Fork asks: if a city is its people, and its people are what they eat, then shouldn’t food play a larger role [...]

Wok the Dog

A lot of people were upset to learn that their best friend Alejandro Villanueva Jersey was a major global warming culprit. According to the October 23 issue of the New Scientist, pet owners can no longer look down on SUV owners as if they alone belonged in the eco-criminal doghouse. New Zealand green architects Brenda [...]

Podcast: Eat this Recession!

Click here to listen to Alejandro Villanueva Womens Jersey a great podcast featuring Wayne Roberts being interviewed Alejandro Villanueva Youth Jersey by Peter Stock.  Thanks to for also hosting Alejandro Villanueva Kids Jersey this podcast.

Video: Food Policy and the New Urban Vision

Here is a video of Wayne T.J. Watt Kids Jersey speaking about food policy at the Toledo Public Library, Alejandro Villanueva Jersey from September 28, 2009.  Thanks to the WGTE-TV (PBS) and Knowledge Stream for making it possible. Alejandro Villanueva Authentic Jersey

Food Literacy Gets Trumped By Financial Literacy

The Ontario government has a new theory about the cause of the global recession. To share this breakthrough in economic analysis, Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne announced on November 2 that she will require that financial literacy be integrated into the school curriculum from grade 4 on in order to “promote a stronger economy.” According [...]


Cities Alive, the first world congress of green roofers T.J. Watt Youth Jersey held in Toronto, put me a little over the top, so as chair of the October 19 session on urban agriculture, I opened the event as if it were a wedding ceremony. Dearly beloved, I intoned, and went the whole nine yards [...]

Eat This Recession

Sneak preview of Wayne Roberts’ controversial article from Alternatives’ new issue, Work. Watch for it newsstands next week. Suppose they had a depression and nobody came? Instead of accepting today’s economic downturn as a pink slip that can’t be refused, what if our governments reacted as if they had received a Facebook invitation: by selecting [...]

Where’s Wayne — October 2009

Something is growing on campus


As we pass the first anniversary of the recession brought on by the crash and burn of houses of financial speculation and ill repute, who still remembers the great one-liner from Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff for then-presidential contender Barrack Obama, who gave his version of “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” As [...]

Why Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution devastated farming

One pundit had it exactly right. It’s no wonder, he sneered, that many environmentalists ignore Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution: Borlaug “actually thinks man can do something useful by altering nature through science.” Nevertheless, on July 17, in his 93rd year, Borlaug was awarded the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions [...]

Fresh Thoughts on Food Security

The Gardiner Museum is hosting its third annual From the Ground Up symposium next week on September 23. This year’s topic: Fresh Thoughts on Food Security, and yes, I am one of the guest speakers.


…what we eat – how it’s raised and how it gets to us – has consequences that can’t be ignored any longer.”

Flic This! What Farmers and Food Artisans Can learn From Hollywood North

If only food were like the movies. If anyone in the Ontario government should ever want to do something to encourage quality jobs in local food production, there’s no need to look any further than the government’s own Ontario Media Development Corporation and its Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, which has just boosted the [...]

Video: Interview with Wayne at Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

I was asked to Alejandro Villanueva Kids Jersey speak to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in April 2009. IATP works locally and globally at the intersection Alejandro Villanueva Jersey of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and Alejandro Villanueva Authentic Jersey trade systems and I was pleased to speak [...]

Stimulate This! Whole New Field of Vision for Farm Environmental Services

There’s no shortage of recession-proofing job creation re-life after the collapse of banks, steel and auto plants collapse. Restoring natural capital is a better business opportunity than restoring antique furniture, cars, paintings or historic buildings.


On the occasion of its 40th birthday in November 2006, This Magazine asked 40 past and present contributors—and some distinguished guests—for a big idea whose time has come. This is my idea. In a knowledge economy, few people know how to make things that can actually be used. That’s why shopping has a bright future, [...]

Changing the Food System is Just What the Doctor Ordered

Read this report, and call me in the morning.

Sharing Food and Work Creates an Upside to the Economic Down

Hang in for the introductory lecture on Chaos Theory 101, and you’ll be able to follow and lead the economics debate in fresh ways.

Hopeless Romantics Do Valentine’s Day Chocolate One Better

Traipsing through the jungles of Mexico in January with Michael Sacco, a Toronto-based fair trader partnering with Indigenous people in Oaxaca, I got a taste of the bittersweet romantic adventure behind the romantic and sweet treat recently branded to symbolize Valentine’s Day. Chocolate goes to the heart of the Indigenous experience in Mexico, a testimony [...]


Detroit I was in Motown speaking at a City Council meeting the day Detroit auto execs jetted into Washington to ask for the big bailout that could forestall certain bankruptcy. Though they were shown the door in Washington, the mood at Detroit City Council was anything but deathwatch. The city that’s become an icon for [...]

Life Is a Picnic

The scene was just as I remembered from many decades ago, when my grade 5 teacher asked us to name one of the seven wonders of the world, and I stuck up my hand and blurted out “the Scarboro bluffs.” My wife Lori and good friend Harriet joined me for a trip down memory lane [...]