"The pivot from a non-profit model to a charity model amplifies the necessary work we've been doing to advance better food work, and helps us to foster a more holistic, sustainable approach."
caterToronto is a network of creative and collaborative caterers, transitioning from a "social enterprise" non-profit model that is seeking better social and economic outcomes with dignified, diverse, and delicious food employment and entrepreneurship.
We are unique and exceptional because of our integrative hands-on approaches to build and strengthen connections for healthier community food systems with our membership and all of YOU!
We started seeding an idea for caterToronto in 2013, with funding support from Metcalf Foundation for Vanessa Ling Yu (founder and director) to coordinate a network of community-based caterers for better socioeconomic opportunities. Incoming requests for catering provided the impetus to address ongoing challenges as a social enterprise. After grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, we realized that we needed new structures to continue our work. The pivot a non-profit model to a charity model amplifies the necessary work we've been doing to advocate for better food work & helps us to foster a more holistic & sustainable in approach. We are grateful for our ongoing supporters from across the Greater Toronto Area.
Learn more about our Strategic Planning Process here:
Who is caterToronto's Executive Director, Vanessa Ling Yu?
Vanessa is one of Toronto’s leading voices within the food justice movement in Toronto, with a specific focus on advocating for dignified food work, community health, and inclusive local food economies prioritizing racialized women and other BIPOC communities. After completing an MHSc in Public Health & Health Promotion from the University of Toronto in 2006 and an M.A. in the Program of Social Science in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2010, she has been able to leverage her background across the public and private sectors in the hospitality and health care industries with her knowledge on capacity building, participatory action research, health promotion, economic development, and food justice to work alongside communities through caterToronto. Through this platform, Vanessa has been able to create strategic partnerships with community organizations, commercial kitchens, public institutions, and other stakeholders to develop sustainable market opportunities for the members of the caterToronto since 2013.
A future where food work is valued and fulfilling for all so that people who work with food have an active say in the future of our food.
Our mission is to increase awareness of, opportunities for, and participation in
dignified food work, through our network, training, advocacy, and supports so that we can all move towards a better food system.
1. We define foodwork differently. Foodwork is socially constituted and is “neighbourhoods-based”.
2. BIPOC to the front!
3. We believe in an intersectional approach and thus, we believe in wider stakeholder engagement that includes those with lived experience.
4. Food justice cannot move forward without dignified foodwork. Dignified foodwork is possible and already happening. More!
5. Transformative justice. We practice what we preach and we lead by example. We live the future we believe in.