Last week, OCTA hosted a food truck workshop in partnership with the Economic Development Council of Ontario (EDCO). Food trucks have been top of mind for many communities. There are so many opinions and so many questions: how do we embrace the movement, how is a culture of collaboration between trucks and restaurants created, what are the benefits of trucks to a community? We learned from communities across the province and beyond, including Waterloo, Ottawa, Hamilton and Halifax . Each municipality has embraced the food truck culture in a different way. The food truck movement in a community seems to start with a passionate leader, either a food truck owner, food media or an energetic city employee. The message of collaboration was loud and clear at the workshop. It is important to bring everyone together to discuss how food trucks can be positively integrated into the community. It is also important to educate and engage the stakeholders in the community and offer city hall meetings so everyone is heard. We heard from how Ottawa and Waterloo have developed criteria for food trucks. Ottawa has a volunteer panel that actually review proposals from the trucks including their menus to decide which trucks roam their streets. On that note, food trucks seem to be moving away from selling at the curb side in many communities! They are finding more value at consumer events, corporate caterings and weddings. A community with a food truck culture is also growing their food culture. It’s evident in Hamilton, the residents are becoming passionate about the trucks and the food they serve. Events are selling out and the trucks have developed a strong following of passionate foodies. The Sew Hungry event on Ottawa Street in 2012 had an economic impact of $96,400 (from tourists only and additional $708,100 spend by locals) and welcomed over tens of thousands of people. Restaurants not only on Ottawa Street but also throughout the City of Hamilton saw an increase in sales! Amazing! Stay tuned for the next Food Truck Workshop….coming soon!