Finding Food in Ottawa during COVID-19 – Please forward to everyone in your work and home networks asap

Just Food Newsletter April 10, 2020

In this Newsletter:

1. Good Food at Your Doorstep Launched | First order due by Monday 13th at noon for deliveries next Friday / Saturday

2. Connect to for information on where to find food in Ottawa both if you are struggling with income AND if you are more financially secure and looking for online options

1. Good Food at Your Doorstep Launched | First order due by Monday 13th at noon for deliveries next week

Low income and vulnerable households can order a ‘Good Food at Your Doorstep’ box full of fresh fruits and veggies for $20. There is an option to donate a box to a household financially impacted. You may also buy a box for someone you know who is having difficulties affording food by using their delivery address and phone number.

The project provides those facing financial barriers to access food with an affordable ($20) box packed with a variety of fresh fruits and veggies delivered right to the doorstep, with delivery free of charge, thanks to Ottawa Community Foundation.

Due to the social distancing requirements, all home deliveries are ‘no contact’. Once the order is placed, customers will receive their box on one of the delivery days later that week between Wednesday and Saturday (9am-5pm). Produce changes weekly depending on availability and seasonality. Orders placed by Friday of each week will be delivered the following week, with an extension given on orders for delivery this first week until Monday April 13 at noon.

The Ottawa Good Food Box, in collaboration with MarketMobile, led by the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre, partnered with Ottawa Community Foundation, North House Foods and Just Food, is launching Good Food at Your Doorstep as one response to the need from COVID-19.

Ottawa Good Food Box - Think Inside the Box

2. Are You Looking For Food online or delivered? Visit /

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, you may be looking for ways to buy online. Just Food will continue to update Good Food Ottawa as a one-stop-shop for finding food – for those struggling with income AND for those who are more financially secure AND for people seeking options to support local farmers. This service existed before, will be updated during COVID-19, and will exist into the future, to ensure good information on food is available.

Please share these sites throughout all of your networks as quickly as possible to ensure everyone has updated information on services available:  

On it, you will find:

  • Resources just published by City of Ottawa re. what is open now for emergency food support, for household and for isolated seniors
  • Good Food at Your Doorstep: a $20 box of fresh fruit and vegetables with free delivery for those struggling with low-incomes 
  • Savour Ottawa Buy Local Food Guide: Producers newly updated on April 8, 2020 – find local farms, restaurants, markets, retail, breweries, wineries and microprocessors (including those who have online shops)
  • CSA Farms: a detailed listing of who still has boxes available for the 2020 season (CSA stands for Community Shared Agriculture farmers in the Ottawa region)
  • Groceries and Restaurants: find online stores and restaurants that are open and operating with pick up or delivery options
  • FoodLink Directory: food bank, community meal program, community kitchen or meal programs (Please check individual websites for updated COVID-19 hours as many of these may be closed or have reduced hours)
  • Farmers’ Markets: find more information on farmers’ markets in Ottawa as it becomes available.  Many are moving towards online ordering with pick-up options

If you are aware of places that are not on the above lists, or aware of information that has changed, please let us know at

Updates on Community Gardens as Essential Food Services

At Just Food – April 7 2020

Updates on Community Gardens as Essential Food Services

Thank you! – many of you have written last week to support Community Gardens Must Remain OPEN as Essential Food Services in Ontario, and have signed onto this Open Letter from Sustain Ontario. Just Food’s Moe Garahan was interviewed on CBC News – Declare community gardens essential, non-profit urges.

We all take safety and physical distancing seriously, to stop the spread of COVID-19. And, this can still be done while allowing thousands of people to grow food in community gardens as most rely on that food to feed their families and other community members.

Breaking news from Gatineau! “For the 2020 season, the City of Gatineau is supporting 22 community and collective gardens, 3 more than last year. The current context requires specific measures to comply with the guidelines for physical distance and the use of common equipment. The committees responsible for the sites, together with the City, are to set up the procedures required for the opening of the sites as soon as possible.” This is a Google translation of the relevant French document, read the original message on La Ville de Gatineau website HERE.

Last week, the provincial government in BC reversed an earlier decision and now has made Community Gardens essential services. BC government recognizes in this LINK that community gardens are a way of subsistence agriculture as it is food cultivation.

Similarly, last Thursday, Victoria BC passed a motion for Scaling Up Growing in the City for Community Resilience, in response to food security, which will temporarily reprioritize the focus of some Parks Department capacity to grow 50,000-75,000 food plants from seed in the municipal nursery and greenhouses for planting in the 2020 growing season.  Read this story HERE.

Updates from CGN and Just Food

We at CGN and Just Food have received many emails and understand your difficulty to make decisions on how to proceed with your community garden and its many members. We hear you!

Just Food is working very hard to….

  • Advocate an informed decision and reversal to make community gardens essential food services, so they can continue to operate this year. Across Ontario and across parties, many MPPs are working on this, as are many of our City Councillors.
  • Co-facilitate the Ontario Community Growing Network to develop safety measures and best practices for COVID-19 for community and allotment gardens across Ontario, based on public health input, so as to best coordinate and build on each other’s efforts.  This will be sent to the Ministry of Health next Tuesday to assist them in reversing the decision on community gardens while ensuring individual and public safety. Ottawa Public Health has agreed to work with Just Food to further develop these safety practices for the Ottawa context once the province gives the go-ahead.
  • Communicate with community gardens in a timely fashion – there will be more newsletters than usual on the progress.
  • Get ready for the growing season so we are ready to go as soon as we are able. This includes finalizing a COVID-19 specific garden agreement that every garden coordinator, and every community garden member, will need to sign in order to access their plot, outlining they understand the new procedures for this year and will abide by them.    

Next newsletter coming this week to all gardeners in Ottawa will be all about online garden workshop dates and topics.

Gardening and COVID-19

For All Gardeners in Ottawa

We hope you are all keeping well during this difficult time.

This newsletter is to reach out to all gardeners in Ottawa, including those in Community Gardens, to provide you with some updates, and seek your input in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.

We gardeners are creative, strong and resourceful! Did you know that there are minimum 6,000 – 7,000 community garden members in Ottawa within 100 community gardens?  Let alone the thousands of people gardening at home.

Together, we can do a lot!

If you are a Community Garden Coordinator: Please forward this email to all of your gardeners, and encourage them to sign up for community garden newsletters by clicking here.  Fill out this contact form to be sure you are on our coordinator-only emails.


1. Gardening at an unusual Covid-19 time
2. SeedLing Saturday scheduled for May 23, 2020
3. Gardening workshops
4. Ordering regionally adapted seeds for your gardening needs

5. Watch Cornwall’s Seedy Saturday Online

1. Gardening at an unusual Covid-19 time.

Just Food believes firmly that all gardening, including in community gardens, in yardshare situations and in households, are essential services.  

We have asked Ottawa Public Health for their advice for gardeners working outdoors, including in a Community Garden or Yardshare setting.  We are working with other networks, compiling practices under discussions in other regions in North America, and will share with you as soon as we have it together. So hang tight!

Just Food will be hosting all meetings and training workshops through Zoom until further notice. 

What are your ideas?

With food security becoming ever more looming, and many uncertainties ahead, we are gathering tips and ideas on how communities, households and businesses are responding to food access. 

Physical distancing (not social distancing!), type of food to grow this year, online community garden AGM, volunteer days, staggered gardening schedules…

What are some of the strategies you are considering for this year’s gardening season?

What measures are you taking and are seeing as effective in this community or reading about in other communities related to gardening?

Your experience, ideas and expertise can help us plan for regulations allowed for gardens this year.

Please click here to share your information or ideas

For Community Garden Coordinators:

If your Community Garden group needs an online meeting, including an AGM, we can set that up on our Zoom platform for you…

Please click here to indicate you would like a meeting set up for your garden.

2. SeedLing Saturday Scheduled for May 23, 2020

We have previously posted about East Ottawa Seedy Saturday on April 18, 2020. 

While seeds are an essential service, this event is CANCELLED, based on the ability of people to purchase seeds online.   (Please see #4 below for a list of seed companies).

However, seedLings need to be picked up, so Just Food is hosting a

SeedLing Saturday!

WHEN: Saturday, May 23, 2020.
WHERE: Just Food Farm (2391 Pepin Court – Bus #25 and free parking)
COST: Free admission (with strict requirement to adhere to physical distancing standards)
RSVP: Keep your eyes on the next newsletter for details on time of the event, and how to sign up.

If you are a seedling vendor and would like to participate, please click here and we will send you additional information beginning of April. 

3. Gardening workshops

Online Workshops

Learn food gardening basics from instructors who are experienced.

First, we are providing BASIC gardening online recorded sessions for FREE, so everyone who is interested in food gardening can get started.

The topics include:

  1. How to plan and grow a small garden on your balcony or pots/container. 
  2. How to plan and grow a garden in your backyard, front yard or community garden plot.
  3. Indoor Seed Starting.
  4. Making compost and building soil outside.
  5. Vermicompost – making compost inside and year-round.
  6. Container food gardening. 
  7. Natural Pest control.
  8. Water-saving gardening design.

These sessions will be available online on the Just Food website.

We will send out the dates to you shortly, in our next email.

For gardeners looking for broader topics and more intermediate skills and to get tips in an interactive way, we are going to host a series of interactive online workshops, from seed starting to harvest to food preservation to fermentation to herbalism. 

These workshops will be hosted by Just Food with community partners, and will be provided at cost ($5/person), or a free option if you don’t have the money.


Indoor Seed Starting Workshop for your Organic Vegetable Garden

Choose one of the two identical sessions

– Monday, March 30 at 1 PM – 2:30 PM (Event link), and
– Tuesday, March 31 at 1 PM – 2:30 PM (Event link

Please note that there is a link in the registration pages listed above, where there is an option to participate for free, if you do not have money.

The next newsletter coming out very shortly will have more topics and dates.

We need your input

*If you have the knowledge to be a trainer on any relevant topics, or
*If you have topics you want to see covered in an online workshop at any point during the growing season, 

please click here to let us know.

We URGENTLY need facilitators with experience growing in the Ottawa region to teach BASIC GARDENING in French and Arabic. if you have this expertise, please get ahold of Sun Shan at

4. Ordering regionally adapted seeds for your gardening needs

It is important to order seeds immediately if you haven’t already.

(If you or other gardeners don’t have the ability to purchase online with a credit card, or are low-income and don’t have money for seeds, please click here, and we can assist you in finding another way.)

We encourage you to use UNTREATED seeds. For community gardens, using untreated seeds is a requirement.

To ensure garden success, find seeds that are adapted to this region, either through a fellow gardener, or one of the vendors from the Organic Seed Directory put together by Canadian Organic Growers. The link to access this Directory is Organic seeds are chemical-free and untreated, and they were grown under Certified Organic conditions.

In addition, check out

Bird and Bee Seeds
Phone: 613-601-9177
Address: 2391 Pepin Court, Ottawa, ON, K1B 4Z3

Richters Herbs
To email them, click here.
Phone: +1.905.640.6677  Fax. +1.905.640.6641
Address: 357 Highway 47, Goodwood, ON L0C 1A0 Canada

There are other seed companies that you might be buying from that have regionally adapted seed.  If they are not listed above, please let us know so that we add them. Thanks! Email CGN Coordinator at

Have we said to order seeds immediately if you haven’t already? 🙂

5. Watch Cornwall’s Seedy Saturday Online

This past Saturday, Cornwall hosted an online Seedy Saturday. Watch the recorded Seedy Saturday video here on Transition Cornwall facebook page (you don’t need a facebook account to watch):

Topics covered are:

Indoor Seed Starting Workshop | Register Now!

In partnership with Capital Greens, we’re hosting this workshop where you’ll learn how to get nearly 100% germination, and how to create the ideal conditions for your seedlings to grow into strong, healthy, high-yielding vegetable crops!

WHEN: Two identical workshops: March 30 and 31 from 1-2:30pm
WHERE: Online
COST: $10 per person
(If payment is an issue, participants can attend for free at the registration pages below) 
RSVP: For March 30th, please register at

For March 31st, please register at

These workshops will be hosted by Just Food with community partners, and will be provided at cost ($10/person).

*Note that there will be a chat feature which you will be able to use to ask questions during the workshop!

The webinar will begin with a ~30-minute “classroom session” (to get you up to speed on some of the theory) followed by ~1hr demonstration in you’ll be shown how to prepare your growing medium, fill your pots, plant your seeds, and then care for your seedlings.

A hands-on tutorial with face-to-face interaction would be better in terms of education, but we feel an obligation to do our part to protect the vulnerable people in our community, and to slow the spread of this virus.

Transforming and Sustaining Local Food: Ottawa’s 2020 Local Food Networking Event

WHERE: Restaurant International, Algonquin College School of Hospitality
COST: $0 (Lunch included) *Parking is $4/hour

Join us for the Ottawa Local Food Networking Event for farmers, chefs, food retailers and processors on Monday, April 6, 2020 from 11:00am – 2:00pm (previous date March 10). 

Presented by the Algonquin College School of Hospitality and Tourism in partnership with the Egg Farmers of Ontario, Just Food, City of Ottawa and Ottawa Tourism.

RSVP required: priority will be given to local farmers, chefs, retailers, and processors.

Free lunch, courtesy of our sponsors!


  • Presentation from the Mayor on the new Rural Strategy and Action Plan
  • Highlights from local food regional innovators on sustainability including a keynote by David Beking of Beking’s Poultry Farm

February 2020 Newsletter

News and Events in the Ottawa Region  

Just Food News and Events 

1. Fermentation Training – LAST CHANCE to Register for First Session  

2. Feb 28 | Agri-Art Tour 2020 Information Sessions

3. Mar 7 | Ottawa West Seedy Saturday

4. Apr 18 | Ottawa East Seedy Saturday at the Just Food Farm

5. Learn to Keep Bees with Success | Registration Open for 2020!

Other News and Events 

6. Mar 14, Apr 4, 18 and May 2 | 2020 Urban Organic Gardening Seminars

7. Permaculture Meetup Group in Ottawa

If you received this monthly newsletter from someone else and would like to receive it directly, sign up here. If you have a food or farm-related event or issue that you would like posted on this newsletter, send a request to         

Although all volunteers and community partners of Just Food want to ensure Ottawa has a vibrant, accessible, sustainable food system, we have many diverse perspectives on how to get there. Just Food welcomes this diversity and believes that it is through working collaboratively with different opinions that we will arrive at a healthy food system for all. Any information that Just Food sends can include information from different community members and community partners and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Just Food.  If you ever have a question about any information listed here, please do not hesitate to e-mail or call 613-824-7771.

1. Fermentation Training Sessions    

Last chance to register for the first session starting March 4 (postponed from Feb 26 due to weather). Registration for Second Session is still open.

WHO: People who sell food or are planning to sell food
WHEN: First session is three Wednesday evenings:
March 4, March 11 (and the third date TBD together with participants on March 4) – 6pm to 9pm  
Second identical session is two weekends:
April 25 and May 2 – 10am to 3:30pm
WHERE: Just Food Farm (2391 Pepin Court – Bus #25 and free parking) 
COST: $110            
RSVP: Click here to register

Topics include:

  • Non-alcohol fermentation and its potential for incorporating into your existing food/farm business
  • Lacto-fermentation such as making kimchi and tabasco style hot sauce
  • Fermenting beans and peas for making miso and tempeh
  • Grain fermentation varieties, including no-sweetener-added desserts such as sweet rice ferment or jiuniang, and using grains in vegetable lacto-fermentation
  • Daily ferment such as kefir
  • And many more…

Please contact if you have any questions about the event.

2. Feb 28 | Agri-Art Tour 2020 Information Sessions

WHEN: Friday, February 28, 7-8:30 pm
WHERE: Just Food Farm Red Barn, 2391 Pepin Court, Ottawa

Join the Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network and Just Food for an information session that will interest farmers, processors, food producers, artisans and artists across Eastern Ontario. The Agri-Art Tour 2020 will take place from September 3-5 across eastern Ontario, if you are interested in hosting or being a vendor at a host location, come to the info session above.

For more info contact and see the poster here.

3. Mar 7 | Ottawa West Seedy Saturday 

Come and stop by the Ottawa Seedy Saturday on March 7! 

WHEN: Saturday March 7 from 10am to 3pm
WHERE: Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre, Britannia Beach, 102 Greenview Ave
RSVP: For more info, please click here

There will be plenty of fun to be had with a day of garden talks and seed sales, and seed exchanges. 

4. Apr 18 | Ottawa East Seedy Saturday at the Just Food Farm

New in 2020—a second Seedy Saturday event is happening in East Ottawa, brought to you by Just Food in partnership with Greta’s Organic Gardens!!

WHEN: Saturday, April 18
WHERE: Just Food Farm (2391 Pepin Court – Bus #25 and free parking)
COST: Free admission – free workshops
RSVP: Keep your eyes on this newsletter for details

As a complement to the long-running, always bustling Ottawa Seedy Saturday in Britannia in early March (see above), this East end event will give you another chance to find, buy or swap seeds as well as many seedlings.  

If you are a seed vendor and would like to participate, contact

5. Learn to Keep Bees with Success | Registration Open for 2020!

Capital Bees is now accepting registration for their Hands-On Natural Beekeeping Program.

The course runs from April through October and is held in the apiary at the Just Food Farm in Blackburn Hamlet. Capital Bees provides the support you need to keep your bees alive and thriving.

To register or for more info, please click here.

6. Mar 14, Apr 4, 18 and May 2 | 2020 Urban Organic Gardening Seminars

The Urban Organic Gardening Seminars are back for 2020!

WHERE: Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington St
WHEN: Saturday mornings 9:30am-12:30 pm
March 14th, April 4th, April 18th, May 2nd
COST: One session $20, all four sessions $70
(Discounts are available for students and those facing financial barriers)
RSVP: To register or for more info, please click here

Whether you are new to gardening or a seasoned horticulturist, there’s always something to learn from Canadian Organic Growers’ gardening seminars. Each session has two seminars touching on a different gardening skill such as seed starting, planning, composting and seed saving. 

2020 Urban Organic Seminars

7. Permaculture Meetup Group in Ottawa 

Learn about permaculture with the new Meetup / Facebook group for the Ottawa-Gatineau area!

This is a discussion and skill-sharing group for all things permaculture including mushroom hunts, local permaculture tours, looking at permaculture applications in our daily lives, experiencing local food, geo/solar greenhouses, etc.

Check out their Meetup group here and their Facebook page here.

Fermentation Training 2020 | Register Now!

WHO: People who sell food or are planning to sell food
 First session is three Wednesday evenings:
February 26, March 4, March 11 – 6pm to 9pm  
Second session is two weekends:
April 25 and May 2 – 10am to 3:30pm
WHERE: Just Food Farm (2391 Pepin Court – Bus #25 and free parking) 
COST: $110            
RSVP: Click here to register

Topics include:

  • Non-alcohol fermentation and its potential for incorporating into your existing food/farm business
  • Lacto-fermentation such as making kimchi and tabasco style hot sauce
  • Fermenting beans and peas for making miso and tempeh
  • Grain fermentation varieties, including no-sweetener-added desserts such as sweet rice ferment or jiuniang, and using grains in vegetable lacto-fermentation
  • Daily ferment such as kefir
  • And many more…

Please contact  if you have any questions about the event.

Background: What is fermentation? Why ferment?
Why is Just Food providing fermentation training?

Just Food partners with Chi Garden to provide a fermentation training that covers the history, science, safety, regulations, and techniques of fermentation. This training will take a system-approach and gives the participants an overview and comparison of many different fermented foods in the market as well as a variety of applications and new product ideas.

Similar to sustainable farming, fermentation is about working with good microbes. Some of these beneficial microbes occur naturally (such as in sauerkraut-making) while others were selectively domesticated, and co-evolved with humans for thousands of years (such as in miso-making).

The training session is designed for businesses that sell food, make food for various clientele, or plan on doing so in the Ottawa region. These can include restaurants, kitchens, food processors, grocery stores and farms.

Vegetables, grains, seeds, beans and peas, meat, dairy can all be found in their fermented forms. Come and find out how you can add fermented products into your business for wonderful taste, variety, cost-effectiveness, waste-reduction, innovation, and more!

From kefir to kombucha, from kimchi to miso, fermented foods have been steadily rising as a food trend.

Yet fermentation is much more than a fashion. It re-connects us to some of the most exciting culinary cultures around the world. Fermentation IS culture.

Although fermentation is now associated with cool trendy foods and even fine dining, it was originally associated with affordability. Since fermentation can turn ordinary ingredients into very tasty, safe and nutritious products, it helps empower communities and people with limited means.

Fermentation can also be used to divert food waste, and give new life to end-of-day produce. Fermentation techniques are low-cost, easy to learn and require no fancy equipment or technology.

Fermentation techniques can make food taste great in a way that is safe, nutritious, and preserves much longer. Our ancestors fine-tuned fermentation techniques long before science and understanding of the microbes at work.

Fermentation is an ingrained part of the local food movement. The sharing of global fermentation knowledge has opened up unprecedented opportunities to revamp the uses of local ingredients and turn them into diverse and amazing sauces, condiments, drinks, and staples.

Your Ideas are Needed to Help Design Just Healthy Neighbourhoods in Ottawa

Your ideas are needed to help design Just Healthy Neighbourhoods in Ottawa before Council votes in March.

WHEN: Saturday, February 22, 2020 from 10:00am – 4:00pm
WHERE: 1701 Woodroffe Ave, Hall A, Nepean Sportsplex
ACCESSIBILITY: Bus tickets and childcare cost available to those with participation barriers
RSVP: Please register here. Registration is required.

On February 22nd, city-wide organizations are holding Just Healthy Neighbourhoods: an action-oriented event sharing information and ideas on how Ottawa can be a sustainable city without expanding the urban boundary.

  • Bus tickets and a small amount of childcare cost will be provided for those with participation barriers. For more information, please contact Khulud Baigat at
  • Vegetarian lunch will be provided
  • Presented by Healthy Transportation Coalition in collaboration with Just Food, City for All Women Initiative, Ecology Ottawa, the Federation of Citizens Associations, Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital, and Healthy Transportation Coalition 

Photo credit in featured image: David Doran

COG Seeking Growing Up Organic Volunteer Director

Growing Up Organic

Canadian Organic Growers (COG) is looking for a volunteer director for their Growing Up Organic (GUO) program in Ottawa. Some of the duties include:

  • Oversees the GUO Program carrying out our Mission and Strategic Plans
  • Reports to monthly meetings of the COG OSO Steering Committee under the umbrella of COG National.
  • Leads the Growing Up Organic Program with support from the GUO Advisory Group through the GUO Manager.
  • Oversees and ensures fundraising plans and liaises with funders of the GUO program notably the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and Grant funders.
  • Develops the GUO Annual Budget in conjunction with the GUO Manager and Advisory Group.

For more information and for the full volunteer description, please click here.

Feb 15 | WORKSHOP How to Start a Community Garden

Join us on Feb 15 and learn about the steps involved in starting a community garden. How to search for land, what is essential when starting a community garden, the supports available, tips for organizing and much more!

The attendance of at least one garden coordinator (or a member of the garden who is working on the proposal) at a How to Start a Community Garden workshop is a requirement in order to apply for funding through the Community Garden Development Fund. The coordinator must have attended a workshop in one of the past 3 years as criteria and processes have changed throughout the years, and we encourage more than one to attend at a time. 

WHEN: Saturday, February 15 from 1:30pm – 3:30pm
WHERE: Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington St
RSVP: Please RSVP to, and let us know if there’s something specific you would like covered!