Food Trucks have made a serious splash in Kingston over the past five or so years and they are something that our readers have enjoyed weighing in on whether we’re giving a review, discussing our very favourite trucks or talking about how they should be regulated. The City of Kingston made some changes to these regulations last year which left an overwhelming number of Kingstonist readers feeling like the city has gotten a bit too involved in determining what we consume. It remains to be seen how these rules will affect the viability of food trucks in Kingston, and whether or not these changes are merely a sign of things to come.
Food trucks have been a hot topic of discussion on Kingstonist and amongst foodies of all types in the Limestone City. While the good ‘ol chip trucks and hotdog vendors that have lined some of our streets and parks for decades continue to thrive, we have seen a significant change in the tastes of Kingston consumers. There is more demand for trucks that specialize in ethnic foods such as Mission Street North and Roamin’ Komodo, and those that specialize in offering healthy and locally sourced options such as Burrito Bunker and Farm Girl. This week, city council unanimously passed a “park refreshment vehicle policy” that leans more towards the latter and is aimed at pushing the evolution of the food truck in a direction that goes beyond hotdogs and french fries.
City council, with the help of Canada’s Food Guide and the folks at KFL&A Public Health, have devised a set of criteria that food truck operators are encouraged to fulfill if they want to set up shop in one of Kingston’s nine city parks. These criteria, which include the healthiness of the menu, use of locally sourced food, use of certified organic food, sustainability in their business practices, and accessibility, will be used to create a rating system for the trucks. The rating system, which comes into effect in 2016, is designed to help consumers choose vendors that meet their health and ethical standards. This is not to say that chip trucks will be left completely in the dark, as most of them operate on streets and in parking lots, which are not yet covered by the policy. These vendors are encouraged however, to consider some small changes such as using oil that is free of trans fats and offering the option of whole wheat or multigrain buns.
Other Ontario cities such as Hamilton, ON have already implemented these types of rules and, taking things much further, places like New York City have outright banned certain foods including the sale of large sized pop at fast food restaurants. The City of Kingston has, thus far, made assurances that such bans will not occur in ygk. There is, however, indications from city hall, that council feels it is their responsibility to create policies regarding things that occur in public parks – including what food people buy there.
While these types of changes are most certainly being made to improve overall health and sustainability in our city, there is always the question, as with the new smoking laws, about our freedom to choose. This new policy does take a different approach, however, and isn’t taking away that right. It simply puts limits on where we can find the types of foods we are looking for. With food trends moving in the direction of healthier, more sustainable and local foods, we’re wondering:
Does the city need to implement new policies when it comes to food truck menus?
- No. The vendors and the consumers should be able to make and order whatever they want. (79%, 128 Votes)
- Yes. Trends are changing but not fast enough. (19%, 31 Votes)
- A little from column A, a little from column B. I'll tell you below. (2%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 162
Tell us what you think about the new policy being implemented on Kingston food trucks. Are you happy to see the City taking responsibility for what is served in our parks? Or perhaps you feel that these new guidelines take things too far and could negatively affect the vendors who may not be able to easily comply. Drop off your comments below.