Community Gardens Must Remain OPEN as Essential Food Services in Ontario

To All Gardeners and Supporters in Ottawa,

Your support is URGENTLY needed TODAY!

On March 30th, the Ontario government mistakenly identified community gardens as recreation activities for closure (READ HERE), as opposed to essential food services, where tens of thousands of people across Ontario grow food for their households.

Please send your own version of the letter below to your local MPP ASAP today, and copy Just Food at, so we can see how many letters are coming in.

If you are a member of a community garden, please say which garden you belong to, and why it’s important to you to access food through your garden plot.

Your list of MPPs in the Ottawa area:

Stephen Blais – Orléans –
Lucille Collard  – Ottawa – Vanier –
John Fraser – Ottawa South –
Hon Merrilee Fullerton – Kanata-Carleton –
Goldie Ghamari – Carleton –
Joel Harden – Ottawa Centre –
Hon Lisa MacLeod – Nepean –
Jeremy Roberts – Ottawa West – Nepean –

To read more about Gardening and COVID-19 in Ottawa, CLICK HERE.

To read and sign on an Open Letter Calling on Province to Identify Community Gardens as Essential Food Service, CLICK HERE.

Suggested letter template

To [name of your Member of Provincial Parliament or all MPPs if you are a City-wide service],

Everyone is working hard, and we are trusting this is just an oversight, but please immediately remove outdoor community gardens from the list of closures for recreation activities released on March 30th, and place them on the list of essential food services in Ontario.

Thousands upon thousands of families rely on community gardens to produce food for their families each year.  In Ottawa, we have a conservative accounting of 7,000 people relying on community gardens to supplement their food during the growing season.  There has been a major increase in demand for this service since the beginning of COVID-19.  People throughout the province have already invested in their seeds, and started seedlings, for this growing season.

This model of community food production is seen as integral to the COVID-19 response in countries throughout the world, particularly as food prices increase and global food supplies are increasingly uncertain.  Food banks also receive tonnes of much-needed fresh food in Ottawa from local community garden efforts. Community gardening availability should be enhanced, not limited, especially at this time.

We all take safety seriously.  We support community growing with clear protocols that WORK in gardens to maintain public safety, agreed to by public health officials. The Ottawa Community Gardening Network at Just Food is working with public health departments to achieve such safety protocols and is a key partner in communicating critical public health messages to our communities.  However, we must not identify community gardens as recreational activities, as for many, many people community gardens are essential ways that community members access their food. 

Please take immediate action to clarify for everyone in Ontario that community gardening is an essential food service.

Thanks very much!

Your name

Name of your community garden, if applicable.

Start-up Farm Program

Just Food established the Start-Up Farm Program to support new farmers in the Ottawa region. By offering access to land, shared infrastructure/equipment, and training, the program aims to enable more people in this region to start their own successful farm business.

> Read More about Just Food’s Start-up Farm program