ETOBICOKE, Ont. — Nearly 100 women and a few men gathered at the Canadian Women in Food launch party last night, at Artworld Fine Art Gallery in Etobicoke, Ont.
Cheryl Appleton — with the help of advisors, including Sue Martin and Heidi Kutzelnig — founded Canadian Women in Food to cultivate a growing spirit of entrepreneurship in the food-and-beverage industry, while creating business and networking opportunities to foster economic growth. “Higher education and values mean women have a more demanding and keen interest in food…. That’s why there’s been a lot of niche business that has grown up over time,” began Appleton. “We have become a nation of foodies, and as a foodie nation, our passion spills over into culinary tourism and social media.”
Women represent about 60 per cent of the positions within the food-and-beverage industry in Canada, said Appleton. “As the facts and figures show, the business case for celebrating and supporting the contribution of women is important, especially if we want to see continued industry growth; and we want to see Canada stand out from the crowd as a global player in food. That’s why we want to stir women up,” she added. “We want to encourage them to be visible … nourish their spirit, creating those connections with other women and create business initiatives that are owned, and driven, by the members.”
Appleton explained the group’s goals. By 2020, she hopes the Canadian Women in Food will become the leading connector for women in food entrepreneurship in the country. The team plans to achieve that by promoting women and businesses that are connected to the food-and-beverage industry and highlighting employment, training and business opportunities, while providing a supportive environment for women to volunteer and share in their best practices. On that note, the team is offering a full membership refund of $100 after members complete four hours of volunteering.
Upcoming Women in Food events include a new member meet-and-greet in December, followed by a member series launch in February and a female food entrepreneurs pavilion at the Restaurants Canada Show in March. Next November, the group will take part in Big Stir, a full volunteer event in support of charity. For more information on Canadian Women in Food, visit canadianwomeninfood.ca.