Food for Thought:Reimagining the Ontario Food Terminal
MetadataShow full item record
Toronto is experiencing a food renaissance. Although there has been a resurgence in the popularity of local food and specialty products, neither supermarkets nor farmers’ markets have adequately responded to meet the demand. Contemporary retail infrastructure, comprised mainly of supermarket chains and independent farmers’ markets, is insufficient. In the supermarket reliable global imports are valued over regional products that support local farmers and the economy. Chain retailers prefer global players that produce consistent results in order to feed consumers who have become accustomed to seasonless food. On the other side of the spectrum, farmers’ markets do not generate the economy of scale required to keep the food industry afloat. As a convenience-driven consumer culture, the limited hours and seasonal variability associated with the farmers’ market typology inadequately fills the desire for locally sourced products. Simultaneously, wholesale distribution nodes have created a closed circuit of food delivery. In Toronto the main distribution point of wholesale produce stems from the Ontario Food Terminal, which feeds the city’s myriad grocery stores and restaurants. This ‘just in time’ food delivery system relies heavily on moving food in and out as quickly as possible. How can it be re-imagined as a dynamic space of interaction among a diverse group of vendors, purchasers and consumers? This thesis looks at the spatial impact of the food distribution network in Southern Ontario by re-imagining the Ontario Food Terminal as an organism of both local and global agricultural distribution. It attempts to respond to the growing desire of the public for locally sourced food products and fill a void that is currently missing: that of a reliable network to support local agricultural products. Local food can only survive by leveraging the global system. The reconciliation of two seemingly incompatible systems - local and global - will create a dynamic hybrid that captures the authenticity lacking in contemporary food culture.