Sunday, 30 October 2016

Red Panamericana Toronto welcomes George Brown College Community Worker placement students to our Cruyff Court Toronto project

Join Maury Cheskes and Devonte Ferguson as they share on our blog their experiences visiting our partners and events a part of our outreach programme. in the graphic attached here Maury visually expresses his excitement  exctement about the possibilities of our first in Canada Cruyff Court contribution to the soccer scene in Toronto.  Creativity will come in many forms to Cruyff Court Toronto.  

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Heyoo! This week, I visited the Toronto Azzuri Soccer club that was founded in 1968 and provides children with outdoor sports opportunities as well as life and skills mentorships. There I met with Peter Kovacs representing the club and he stressed that with better employment and educational opportunities, any impoverished neighbourhood can improve their image. I learned about Richard Asante who’s been around since TA’s conception and was born and raised in the Jane and Finch area. Asante went off to become the first draft pick of the Toronto FC and now has returned to Jane and Finch to teach at the Asante Soccer Academy affiliated with Toronto Azzuri. What I gathered from visiting the Azzuri organization was that soccer brings youth and adults together. Many people are passionate about the sport and willing to offer their time and focus in bringing it to Toronto. Help send out the message and make youth soccer more available to those in need. 
Hey, back to you with more news on TorontoTheBetter. Today I gave out pamphlets and cards about our special initiative to promote Fair Trade in countries like Africa and India and around the world. A 2015 study by Tulane University shows that over two million children are working in inhumane conditions in the cocoa region of West Africa for companies like the Hershey Factory. Furthermore, child workers in Assam, India have been subjected to labor on tea plantations without the use of proper protective gear. Fair trade international has contributed annual inspections, made changes to the Worker Protection Standard and has even provided schooling for kids during the day, but much still needs to be done to prevent further abuses. Fairtrade even goes as far as empowering the organic food movement in countries like Brazil, India and the Philippines. The prevailing outcome is food systems growing stronger with a strong emphasis on value and culture. For more information please visit
Aye there! If you didn't attend the Driftwood Festival this year you missed out. There was live music, health and safety handouts, an open basketball court plus dance and fresh food cooked right outside by local Jane and Finch residents. I was there on behalf of Cruyff Court Toronto. Cruyff Court Toronto named after the legendary soccer player seeks to build a soccer field in the Jane and Finch residence and it is open to all ages for people who have a love for the game. The purpose of this field is to provide a healthy outlook to the community while allowing local business entrepreneurs a chance to promote their ideas right around the corner to raise the community's social economy. I think Cruyff Court would largely support the Jane and Finch community. For starters, I asked a bunch of the residents there if they'd be interested and many told me that they only liked playing basketball. Adding a new sport to the area will bring new culture into the environment while also helping athletes develop their skills in a healthy team atmosphere. If you want to help, please make a donation at and help the Jane and Finch inhabitants bring a new game into their community!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Toronto's Urban Decay - kind-of

OK - it's Halloween, but you can't make this stuff up. The latest Goth cosmetics to hit the malls is labelled "UD" [website link withheld in protest].  Amounts to: "She's so attractive when she's made up like she's poor" (as long as she isn't really poor.) Of course if she was poor she could not afford to dress up like she's poor. It's beyond irony. Let's call it sick. Urban decay is real, homesless people, no affordable housing, clogged and deteriorating roadways. Urban decay is real, not fantasy and I 'm pretty sure the guy I recently saw eating thrown away restaurant food (hope that's what it was) from the sidewalk on Spadina did not need any make-up to show he was poor. How about Urban Desperate as UD's next "look". Just in time for the holiday...

Monday, 17 October 2016

TorontotheBetter's George Brown Community Worker placement student visits 2016 Driftwood multicultural festival

Another vibrant Driftwood festival in on Sept.24, 2016, Thanks to partner Driftwood Community Centre's Tamasha for the invite and placement student Maury Cheskes for the pictures.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Ontario's Nestle fiasco

ONTARIO...>Image result for WATER>...NESTLE
    Pure Life, Vittel, S,Pellegrino, Perrier... Take a close look at the brand name on the label of your next bottle of drinking water. All the above names spell one thing: their producer is none other than Nestle and you may have heard about them recently. It may be you've just paid for something that as a citizen of Ontario is rightfully yours anyway. In our current long period of austerity and government withdrawal from economic responsibilities from at least the 1980's it comes as no surprise that governments continue to sell off public assets and/or rent them for prices that the market, the neo-liberal criterion for all things bright and beautiful, would reject. The Ontario government's recent virtual give away of key water resources at Aberfoyle, near Guelph, Ontario to beverage giant Nestle is a shock only because of the scale of its public generosity to private interests.Is it too much to expect that the benefits of Canada's resources best serve social, rather than private, good as a real social economy requires they should?  

The reality of another gutless public regime withdrawing from its duty to best protect our common heritage is depressingly at one with mainstream policy by many western political parties in these times of self-imposed austerity. If nothing else, the virtual give-away of Ontario water to Nestle should ignite long shell-shocked public indignation and awaken a move to "repatriate" our common resources from the marketplace. Maintaining our waterways free of pollution is key, but ensuring our birthrights serve the long-term public interest is fundamental to a progressive politics dedicated to the common good.                    

Back to the future: the commons as economic model for the @1st century

Many have heard of the commons as a quaint medieval practice where communities (peasants and landowners) alike revolved around an area of common ground where economic interests were mutually served. This model was intended to be put to the intellectual torch by the now infamous "Tragedy of the Commons" paper by Garrett Hardin in 1968. But, as we often say a funny thing happened on the way to the garbage bin of history: with the failure of both the top-down statist economic model in 1989 and of the "free" market  model (once again) in 2008, a remarkable  thing has happened; growing and respectful attention is being paid to the no longer quaint idea of the commons. And as part of this conceptual journey a  route is opening for social economics as a comprehensive economic model rather than a subsidiary alternative. In addition to traditional commons models, new forms are emerging, making for a kind of commons rebirth. Below TorontotheBetter is pleased to review the emerging trend and to welcome comment.  

The term social economy has become popular in recent years as a phrase that conveniently opposes economic models narrowly focused on finance and "rational" self-interest. And in this it has been successful as a rallying cry for all those who see economic activity as a tool of human, and so social benefit. At the end of the 20th century, with the two economic models  (exclusively market-directed and  hierarchically state directed) that had dominated since the birth of the modern age,  having demonstrated fatal weaknesses, social economy  became a kind of grab-bag of alternatives, ranging  from barter, co-operation and gift  economies, which each played emancipatory roles in a neo-liberal environment, but were, at root, philosophically and practically distinct, thus suggesting a mixed economy – a state controlled market - as the necessary best of an imperfect bunch.

But what has emerged in recent years is a new respect for a more primary and ancient model of economics for people and planet: the commons. The commons is, in its purest form of air, water and land, as it existed for millennia before enclosures, is, arguably, the original economic model, where a  group partakes  freely in the world’s natural wealth, while respecting the rights of all others to  do so too and so protecting the group  resource at the same time as partaking in it. The commons way is found in the difference between using and using up. Our self-interest is in protecting what we have, not exhausting it. The environmental movement was the first to make this point politically, but other groups, from gender-to  geographical  and cultural groups are increasingly seeing the wisdom of  this and understanding their common destiny as “commoners”.

As a number of recent books have noted, many ancient commons have survived  the privatization and enclosure frenzy of the industrial age. But what is really interesting at the beginning of the 21st century is that new, what we can call “super-natural” commons are emerging. The most important of these has been, the virtual common that is the Internet.  The exciting possibility is that the universally celebrated virtual commons that is the Internet can be a force for the “re-commoning” of original physical commons that have been privatized. Why is this already happening?  Because more and more have understood that privatization, enclosure and alienation have been producing more and more social waste and destruction, of  the environment and the  people who live by or on it, as ultimately we all do.