Image of two women wearing aprons and standing in a kitchen

Photography by Brooke Schaal

Ethical ways to eat and drink around the GTA

Grabbing a meal or a drink with a clear conscience is easy when you know where to go

We get it: Eating and drinking ethically can be hard work. Fancy logos and wordy claims abound, but what do they all even mean? Don’t worry. We’ve figured out how to grab a meal or a beverage across Toronto and the GTA with a clear conscience, all while supporting some pretty awesome community-based projects. So next time you’re heading out for a cup of joe or a bite to eat with friends—or you’re looking for a caterer for a special event—you can do some good while you support one of the ethically minded businesses below.

• There’s nothing better than a fresh cup of coffee to start your day. Well, maybe there is: fresh, ethically sourced java served with a side of social enterprise. We’ve rounded up the best ethical coffee shops in the GTA that serve fair trade and/or organic coffee, are environmentally conscious and give back to the community.

• When we’re eating, we don’t tend to think about our meals in terms of their carbon footprint—but we should. Portion sizes, where ingredients come from and even what kind of water you order at a restaurant can have consequences. Here are four easy ways to make greener choices when dining out.

• The Depanneur is a well-known west-end haunt that prides itself on celebrating the diversity of culinary talent in Toronto. It’s also the home of Newcomer Kitchen—there, a group of Syrian women meet weekly to cook and sell Syrian-style suppers to the surrounding community. Currently, it’s on pause (and hoping to find a stable source of funding to resume the project), but you can read about what Newcomer Kitchen has been up to. Make a note to keep checking in on their status so you can enjoy one of their fab suppers when they’re back up and running.

• Getting married? Hosting a party? Looking for someone to cater an upcoming luncheon? When you hire a community-minded catering company that cares, embracing the giving spirit is as simple as throwing a party. Here are seven Toronto caterers that are making a difference.

• Across cultures and communities, food is a frequent focal point for gatherings—which means our kitchens are usually social hubs as well. Lately, initiatives known as “community kitchens” are taking that concept public. Discover five community kitchens that should be on your radar, whether you’re in the mood for a snack with friends, a catered meal or an opportunity to volunteer.

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