URBAN HERO: Jagger Gordon feeds Toronto by keeping food out of landfill!
Chef Jagger Gordon, the founder of Feed it Forward, is a Star Metroland Media 2020 Urban Hero in the Business category, Judge’s Selection. - Dan Pearce/Torstar
Etobicoke chef is a 2020 Urban Hero winner — Business category, Judge's Selection
Chef Jagger Gordon can “foresee what I’m supposed to do,” and that’s led the Etobicoke resident to the forefront of food rescue in Toronto.
“You do good, good will come to you — and it has,” says the Star Metroland Media 2020 Urban Hero Award winner in the Business category, Judge's Selection.
Founder of Feed It Forward and 11 other charity programs, Gordon says more than half of the food produced in Canada ends up as landfill.
Feed It Forward started with Gordon, whose passion is food, becoming increasingly aware of how much food wastage there is.
After one rainy Oktoberfest he was stuck with so much food, he gave out free meals in Trinity Bellwoods Park. Hundreds showed up to collect.
Gordon, who defines food insecurity as “when a student struggles with their next meal, at any level,” saw some of his daughter’s friends struggling that way.
He started providing food for after-school events and, after starting a pay-what-you-can soup bar downtown, did the same at Humber College and other post-secondary institutions.
Gordon started getting produce from a 200-acre organic farm in Whitby.
He started a pay-what-you-can grocery store and café in The Junction in 2018.
Gordon said he had to educate companies that their unsold food can be donated without liability and directed to people in need.
“I went out to restaurants, I went to hotels,” he says. “I started knocking on every door.”
People listened and they gave.
But then COVID-19 hit. Gordon, who lost his catering jobs, had just signed a fresh five-year lease on a new grocery location on Dundas Street West.
Undaunted, he and his kitchen staff ramped up their production of frozen meals from repurposed food, making up to 5,000 a day.
Gordon started asking for more volunteers — he now has 2,200 — and for more board members, vehicles and grants to sustain Feed It Forward. He got them.
Gordon is proud the same high-quality meal he might cook for a celebrity can, through his initiative, be given to someone without a home.
“It’s dinner with dignity. Food is not a privilege,” he says.
Mike Adler is a reporter with toronto.com and Metroland Media Toronto who covers Scarborough and other overlooked parts of Toronto. He worked previously for Metroland in York Region. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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