Ottawa (virtual) Screening of Gather

For anyone who missed the first screening of Gather — a film that celebrates and honours the critical and leading role Indigenous peoples play in protecting biodiversity on Earth as the basis of our shared food — we hope you can join the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health and Just Food for a second and final screening of the film from February 4-6

While the Indigenous food sovereignty projects in the film are based in lands south and west of here, their importance will resonate with viewers all over Turtle Island.

This is a free event, with the request that those watching, who can, will donate to Wabano’s Indigenous Food Sovereignty Project, (please choose Wabano Indigenous Food Sovereignty Project on the drop-down list) housed at Just Food Community Farm, with funds going to purchase seeds, tools and other materials for food production starting in 2021.

Gather will be open for viewing for 55 hours!
Watch at your own leisure from Thursday, February 4th at 5 PM to Saturday, February 6th at 11:59 PM

Length of film: 1 hour, 14 minutes 

Register by noon on Wednesday, February 3rd here
You’ll be sent the movie link by email by noon on February 4th

Please click here to donate to Wabano (and please choose Wabano Indigenous Food Sovereignty Project on the drop-down list).

We’re also very grateful to the many people who donated to the
Wabano Centre’s Indigenous Food Sovereignty Project. All proceeds from the film screening will go towards Wabano’s food project
at the Just Food Community Farm in 2021.

More info:

The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health is an award-winning and internationally recognized healthcare facility located in Ottawa, Ontario. Wabano’s unique model of care emphasizes the importance of nurturing the mind, body and spirit through the provision of a full medical clinic, mental wellness and addictions services, community and cultural programs, and community outreach. The result has been the creation of a place of belonging where culture flourishes in support of Ottawa’s Indigenous community.

Just Food is a community-based, non-profit organization working towards vibrant, just and sustainable food and farming systems in the Ottawa region. 

New Farmer Training

Training Series for New Farmers: Vegetable Production 

Starting Tuesday, February 2 we are offering a 12-session series of online workshops for new farmers, focused on vegetable production and covering a diverse set of topics to start (or enhance) your farm enterprise. The training series will not be recorded, attendance is ‘live’ only.

When: February 2 – April 24 (see full calendar below), mostly Tuesday / Thursday evenings 6-9 pm

Where: Online via Zoom
Pre-requisites: None
Language: English 
Cost: 12 workshops plus a review of your farm enterprise plan for $500 
(Some subsidized spots for those with serious financial barriers)
To take one to three workshops contact Carmen (working Wed-Fri) through info@justfood.ca

For questions or more information contact: phil@justfood.ca

To register, please send an email with your contact information to Carmen (works Wed-Fri) at info@justfood.ca and e-transfer the workshop fee ($500) to financials@justfood.ca

Trainers:
Mat Levinson – Capital Greens
Phil Mount – Flat Earth Farm
Dan Van Vliet – Van Vliet Horticulture
Simon Neufeld, MSc, CCA – Chief Agronomist, Earth Alive Clean Technologies Inc.
Moe Garahan – Just Food Community Farm+ Guest trainers 

Full 2021 Calendar – Training Series for New Farmers: Vegetable Production 

1. Tuesday, February 2 (6-9 PM)
Organic certification and record-keeping 

2. Tuesday, February 9 (6-9 PM) 
Crop planning and production (includes organic record-keeping, planning for pest control)

3. Thursday, February 11 (6-9 PM)
Introduction to Farm Business Planning (includes CSA model)

4. Tuesday, February 16 (6-9 PM) 
Best practices for Starts and Transplanting; Equipment / irrigation supplies and sourcing

5. Thursday, Feb 18 (6-9 PM)
Marketing, pricing and sales

6. Tuesday, Feb 23  (6-9 PM)
Accessing Land; Land tenure agreements

7. Thursday, Feb 25 (6-9 PM)
Soil fertility through organic production practices

8. Tuesday, March 2 (6-9 PM)
Financial Planning, Investment Strategies and Farm Taxes

9. Tuesday, March 9 (6-9 PM)
Intensive vegetable production techniques (including pest control)

10. Tuesday, March 23 (6-9 PM) 
Post-harvest handling

11. Tuesday, March 30 (6-9 PM)
Farm Safety

12. Saturday, April 24 – 10-3 
Small-scale farm infrastructure & equipment use – on site at Just Food Community Farm 

Start-Up Farm Program

Spots are available at the Just Food Community Farm for those interested in incubating a plant-based farm enterprise idea for the 2021 season (4 spots) and/or an artisanal poultry business (1 spot) for the 2022 growing season.

Pre-requisites:  Completion of Just Food’s New Farmer Training Workshops  (See above). If you have taken an equivalent, please email phil@justfood.ca for verification.

For those interested in artisanal chicken incubation, please send a documnet outlining relevant background information and experience to phil@justfood.ca

Language of support:  English 

Details here: https://justfood.ca/start-up-farm-program/

Farmer Training Topics Coming Soon…

This Winter: 

  • Value-add Food Processing 
  • Greenhouse start-up
  • Livestock production

This Summer:

English as Second Language New Farmer Training 

(including supports in French and Arabic)

If you are interested in these, please contact comms@justfood.ca

More details coming soon!

The Seeds and Soil Home Garden Project

Just Food and the City of Ottawa’s Human Needs Task Force are partnering to provide
free seeds and soil to 3000 households living on lower income or who lost income because of COVID-19 in Ottawa.

Are you looking for a way to increase your food supply with a garden?
There is still time to plant greens, beans and other food for your home use.

Home gardens are a great way to grow your own food, stay active, and support positive
mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Distribution starting Tuesday, June 16. First come – first served!

All information can be found here: https://justfood.ca/garden2020/ or https://alimentationjuste.ca/jardin2020

Ottawa Food Garden Project

On World Hunger Day, City of Ottawa announces support for more people to start food gardens at their homes   

On May 27th, Ottawa City Council voted to support household food gardens.  Councillor Theresa Kavanagh’s motion, The Ottawa Food Garden Project, an initiative that supports household food production, unanimously passed at City Council yesterday. This initiative will enable residents to request free soil and seeds to create or enhance their own home food garden. 

The motion, seconded by rural Councillor George Darouze, requests that the City’s Human Needs Task Force (HNTF) work with Just Food to identify solutions for funding and immediate human resource and volunteer solutions required to support the project. 

The Ottawa Food Garden Project is a food security initiative that also encourages residents to get active at home during the COVID-19 emergency. This citywide initiative, in partnership with HNTF and Just Food, will help to support residents in growing their own gardens in response to COVID-19.

Councillor Kavanagh noted, “With this motion passing, we will be able to partner with social service agencies and reach a lot more families struggling with lower incomes right now than we ever could with the current resources at Just Food.”

Councillor Darouze highlights that “COVID-19 has led to significant increased food and income insecurity in Ottawa. The demand for community food production has also increased.”

The City of Ottawa currently funds and partners with Just Food on their Community Gardening Network and Community Garden Development Fund to enhance the capacity of community food production in Ottawa. The demand by households in Ottawa for assistance to garden has surpassed the capacity of Just Food staff and volunteers to respond in a timely fashion, given the short growing season and need for planting to happen in the next few weeks.

Just Food has confirmed the purchase of $5,000 worth of seeds for distribution to Ottawa families with the goal of serving a minimum of 3000 families.  Greely Sand and Gravel, who are also partners to the project, have committed to a significant donation of soil.   “We are proud to build upon our longstanding community gardening partnerships throughout Ottawa and support this project to ensure families have what they need to get started”, says Brent Pyper, owner of Greely Sand and Gravel.

“Supporting community food production mitigates the pressure on emergency food distribution channels and builds long-term food security and community resiliency”, says Just Food Executive Director Moe Garahan. The Ottawa Food Policy Council is supportive of the City of Ottawa providing increased COVID-19 emergency support for household food production. 

Councillor Kavanagh thanks Just Food, The City of Ottawa Human Needs Task Force, her colleague Councillor George Derouze and Greely Sand and Gravel company for their cooperation in getting this project going in a timely manner.

More information will be available on the JustFood.ca website within the week as to how to get involved.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Councillor Theresa Kavanagh – BayWard@ottawa.ca
Councillor George Darouze – George.Darouze@ottawa.ca
Just Food Executive Director Moe Garahan – moe@justfood.ca

SeedLing Saturday (May 23 – Some Spots Still Available) 

Just Food is hosting a SeedLing Saturday this weekend at the Just Food Farm! Seedlings and seeds will be for sale.

Includes pre-order and pick-up sales as well as on-site sale options.

WHEN: Saturday, May 23 4 time slots to choose from
10am- SOLD OUT
11am – SOLD OUT
12pm – Some spots still available
1pm – Some spots still available
WHERE: Just Food Farm, 2391 Pepin Court
RSVP: is a must!

*In order to maintain physical distancing we will only be allowing 60 people on-site at a time. More COVID-19 guidelines below.

To register, please click on the time slot you would like to attend, noting that seedlings will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. (We will email later registrants if seedlings are sold out).

 11am12pm1pm

Register now before the time slots fill up. (Please note – if you are only ordering online to pick-up, you don’t need to register, but you need to pick up between 10am-12 noon.)

Acceptable payment methods include online pre-payment, tap payment on-site and cash.

Online Pre-ordering Information

To pre-order seedlings online, please see the following vendors:

Vendors Selling On-site

  • Nanabush Food Forest: food forest plant exchange
  • Get Up & Grow! On pousse!: tomatoes
  • The Chi Garden
  • Flat Earth Farm
  • And more!

COVID19 related Health Guidelines 

The COVID-19 regulations set out by Ottawa Public Health will be in effect for all customers, including physical distancing. Please see further health guidelines below:

  • Tables will be spaced and limited in number to avoid overcrowding, with people asked to maintain 6 feet from each other at all times.
  • One-way traffic for both cars into and off the property, as well as one-way traffic for customers around the tables.
  • Separate pick-up-only area for pick-up orders, with tables spaced apart from each other.
  • Limited conversation time to maintain flow – people are encouraged to get in and out efficiently.
  • No touching the plants unless purchased. Only looking at what is on the table to keep distancing in mind.

Indigenous Voices on Food Security

The COVID-19 global pandemic has worsened the existing food security problems among many communities, including Indigenous communities.

Federally-funded emergency food supports are being used to tackle the food challenges brought on by the closure of borders, rise of unemployment, and food hoarding. However, these supports are inadequate for Indigenous communities including Indigenous community members living in Ottawa. 

To read more, please check out Elisa Levi and Tabitha Robin’s COVID-19 Did Not Cause Food Insecurity In Indigenous Communities But It Will Make It Worse published by Yellowhead Institute.  

BREAKING NEWS – Community Gardens are Open in Ontario

THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your efforts to make this happen! 

Community Gardens Are Opened in Ontario!

The Ontario Government announced this morning that it is amending an emergency order to help ensure food security during the pandemic, which will:

“Permit the use of allotment gardens and community gardens across the province. These gardens are an essential source of fresh food for some individuals and families, including those who face food insecurity. Local medical officers of health will provide advice, recommendation and instructions that the gardens must meet in order to operate, such as physical distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly used equipment and surfaces.”

See this announcement HERE.

Congratulations to everyone in our community who wrote a letter, signed a petition, took part in articles and shared information through your contacts.  You helped identify the importance of growing food at the household level and the importance of community food gardening available everywhere (on balconies, yards, raised beds and community gardens).  You showed the positive ways we can work together with government at all levels as partners serving community interests.    

What’s Next?

Please note that community garden re-opening will need approval locally from Public Health. In Ottawa, community gardens will need to get this approval through Just Food, the partner with City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health to support gardens throughout the city.  Just Food is finalizing garden safety protocols with Ottawa Public Health, and we will be in touch with all garden coordinators this coming week with an online webinar to get started. You will hear from Sun Shan (Community Gardening Network Coordinator) and Morgan (summer student focused on community gardens) from Just Food re. getting your garden set up with the necessary protocols in place in order to get permission for gardens opening.  We will also cover if coordinators or gardeners do not want to garden or coordinate this year, which is up to each person, and how that will work, depending on where your garden is located.

Happy Earth Day! Celebrate by Growing Your Own Food

Gardening News, Webinars, Seeds, Garden Guides and More
Brought to You By Just Food

Being able to find, get, grow, cook and buy food have all become top priorities for everyone, if they weren’t already so. For thousands, access to seed and land have been critical questions over the past week.

The best way the whole Just Food team can think of to celebrate this 50th anniversary of Earth Day is to ensure that everyone in Ottawa, who wants to, has a way to grow food to feed family, friends and the broader community.

We’re here to help you with this, before, during and after COVID19.
Here’s to Good Food For All. 

____

A reminder to please share these sites throughout all of your networks as
quickly as possible to ensure everyone has updated information on
where to find food: 

www.goodfoodottawa.ca

www.bonnebouffe.ca

____

Table of Contents


Community Gardening News for Ottawa and Ontario

1. BREAKING NEWS on Gardening in Ontario – April 20

2. MORE BREAKING NEWS on Motion from Ottawa Board of Health – April 20

Grow Your Own Food

3. May 23 | Announcing Just Food’s First SeedLing Saturday

4. Garden Guides Available in English and French and Announcing New Guides in Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin

5. Request Seeds from the Ottawa Seed Library | Email seeds@justfood.ca

6. New Kids Gardening Project! 

7. FREE Online Gardening Workshops | Get a Head Start on your Growing Season including Seed Starting – Watch at Any Point 

Live Gardening Webinars

(Good for Getting Your Questions Answered)

8. Apr 22, 27 and May 2 | Basic Organic Gardening (English, Français)

9. Apr 25 & 29 | Seed Saving Up Above – Garden Planning Considerations

10. Apr 26 | Outdoor Compost and Ways for Soil Building

11. May 6 & 9 | Herbalism Workshop – Herbs to Grow and Weeds to Keep

Backyard Chickens

While we know that the City of Ottawa does not allow backyard chickens at present, we also know that hundreds of people are successfully doing so already, thanks to agreement from their neighbours, as Bylaw enforcement is based on a complaint system. We also know that stocks of starter chicks have depleted so it will be difficult for those who haven’t started to start this season, however, given the priority of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs along with the Poultry Industry Council to present the following instructional video, we want to share this for those of you who can use it.

12. Apr 29 | Raising Backyard Chickens Workshop by Poultry Industry Council 

Newsletter Content


1. BREAKING NEWS on Gardening in Ontario – April 20 

Multiple offices have been meeting over the past week (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Premier’s Office), are giving “serious consideration” to the issue and are “making good progress towards an exemption for community gardens”. 

We requested an announcement this week that all food providing gardens (community gardens, allotments, apartment gardens, etc) are deemed essential food services, with the request that gardens can open at the end of this current emergency period – May 12 at the latest. This allows for flattening the curve on the incidence of COVID cases, and for time for gardens to organize health and safety protocols to ensure individual and public safety.

The Premier’s Office made special note of the efforts that went into developing the recommendations and found these very helpful. (Thanks to everyone that fed into this!!). We also heard that contacting your MPPs and media coverage really had an impact and emphasized the importance of food-producing gardens.

So while there’s no confirmation yet, it seems to be heading in the right direction, and we are hopeful to hear something more definitive soon.

2. MORE BREAKING NEWS on Motion from Ottawa Board of Health – April 20 

A motion put forward by Chair Egli passed unanimously on April 20 for the Board of Health of the City of Ottawa to direct the Chair of the Board of Health to write a letter to the Premier of Ontario and to the Ontario Minister of Health to exempt outdoor allotment gardens and community gardens from the closure of outdoor recreational amenities.

This would apply in gardens where public health measures can be implemented to support their safe operation to prevent the spread of COVID19. Please see the proposed regulations here.


3. May 23 | Announcing Just Food’s First SeedLing Saturday 

Buy food seedlings from local farmers for your own home gardens. 

WHEN: Saturday, May 23
Times slots you will be able to register for: 10am, 11:30am, 1pm
WHERE: Just Food Farm, 2391 Pepin Court, Gloucester, ON (Blackburn Hamlet)
PAYMENT: Free entrance.
Debit, credit, e-transfer and cash will all be accepted.
For some farmers, an option to pay online and pick-up will also be available.
RSVP: Links to register will be sent in the next Just Food newsletter.

Physical distancing will be set up. There will be three time periods for people to register to encourage physical distancing, and the transplant inventory will be divided equally into those three time periods to ensure better access throughout the day. Stay tuned for more information in the next newsletter.

4. Garden Guides Available in English and French and Announcing New Guides in Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin 

The Community Gardening Network of Ottawa brings you an easy beginner guide on the basics of growing food in the Ottawa region. This guide covers the basics from soil and composting to plant profiles and planting calendars, all presented in a way that is fun to follow and easy to learn.

The guide is now available in 5 languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin. To view the Garden Guide, click here. Veuillez cliquez ici pour les guides de jardinage. And a big thank you to Ottawa Public Health for paying for the new translations.

5. Request Seeds from the Ottawa Seed Library | Email seeds@justfood.ca 

Just Food is announcing an enhanced project this year through our Ottawa Seed Library for those looking to have access to seed.  

We have packages of seeds to suit different sized growing spaces.  If you have not been able to get seed, you may be put in a request by emailing seeds@justfood.ca your location in the city, experience level in growing (first time, beginner, intermediate, growing for years), and size of your growing space (balcony? raised bed? small yard? what dimensions?).

A team of volunteers is working hard to package up seeds to suit different food garden sizes. We will be distributing as long as supplies last, with the request that anyone accessing seeds watch the videos that will be available on seed saving and save seed for your family for future years, hopefully also giving some back to the library for others.

A quick note that you can still buy seeds from these Ottawa-based seed companies: 
Bird and Bee: https://www.birdandbee.ca/
Gaia Organics: https://www.gaiaorganics.ca/
Greta’s Organic Gardens: https://www.seeds-organic.com/

6. New Kids Gardening Project! 

Ottawa Carleton District School Board and Just Food are pleased to announce for Earth Day the Kids’ Garden Project for 1000+ families. The focus is on kids learning how to grow their own fresh food, even in very small areas and containers, and to save seed for upcoming years.

Families who are struggling with income and other barriers are being chosen through their schools for the full program, which includes receiving seed and soil in May, and instructions over the growing season. Kids will be able to ask questions each week through email and other media, and get answers from local farmers at the Ottawa Farm School at Just Food Farm.

In addition, all kids in Ottawa who have access to their own seed will be able to watch the videos posted, and get their questions answered on growing their own food. 

7. FREE Online Gardening Workshops | Get a Head Start on your Growing Season including Starting Seeds – Watch at any Point

We have been posting free, pre-recorded workshops to learn the gardening basics from instructors who are experienced. There are three workshops currently available with more workshops coming soon:

  1. Urban Organic Vegetable and Herb Gardening – Container and Small Space Gardening
  2. Indoor Seed Starting
  3. NEW! Grow Vegetables and Herbs in Your Backyard, Front yard or Community Garden plot

Please stay tuned to the page Gardening Workshops on the Just Food website to view more free gardening workshops as they become available. 

Gardening Workshops

These online workshops are produced by Community Gardening Network at Just Food, in partnership with community partners and garden instructors.


Live Gardening Webinars

Please note: All of our 2020 Gardening Workshops will be online until further notice. Our goal is to enable as many gardeners as possible to grow food successfully in our region. All facilitators are experienced gardeners who have teaching experience and understand growing conditions in our region.

8. Apr 22, 27 and May 2 | Basic Organic Gardening 

Interested in organic gardening but don’t know where to start? This workshop is great for any gardener wishing to brush up on their gardening theory before the season. Whether you have never gardened before or hoping to boost your confidence in your abilities, you are sure to learn something at this workshop. 

Two identical sessions and one French session:

April 22

WHEN: Wednesday, April 22 at 7pm 
WHERE: Online (Zoom meeting – participants can access for free using a computer or phone via internet browser, or by downloading the Zoom app)
COST: $5 per person
(If payment is an issue, click this link to request to attend for free)          
RSVP: Click here to register for April 22

Le 27 avril

QUAND: lundi 27 avril à 19:00
OÙ: En ligne (Zoom – les participants peuvent avoir l’accès gratuit en utilisant un ordinateur ou un téléphone via l’internet, or par télécharger l’app Zoom)
PRIX: 5 $ par personne
(Si le paiement c’est un problème, cliquez ce lien pour demander de participer gratuitement)
REGISTRER: Veuillez registrer ici pour le 27 avril

May 2

WHEN: Saturday, May 2 at 2pm 
WHERE: Online (Zoom meeting – participants can access for free using a computer or phone via internet browser, or by downloading the Zoom app)
COST: $5 per person
(If payment is an issue, click this link to request to attend for free)   
RSVP: Click here to register for May 2

This workshop focuses on growing common variety vegetables in the Ottawa region in various settings – your living room, small space and yards – without the use of pesticides or herbicides.

9. Apr 25 & 29 | Seed Saving Up Above – Garden Planning Considerations 

Just Food, in partnership with Gaia Organic Seed, brings this workshop just in time when you are starting and planning your garden this year. This workshop will equip you with the necessary skills to harvest your own seeds successfully for growing in the next years to come.

April 25

WHEN: Saturday, April 25 at 2pm 
WHERE: Online (Zoom meeting – participants can access for free using a computer or phone via internet browser, or by downloading the Zoom app)
COST: $5 per person
(If payment is an issue, click this link to request to attend for free)          
RSVP: Click here to register

April 29

WHEN: Wednesday, April 29 at 7pm 
WHERE: Online (Zoom meeting – participants can access for free using a computer or phone via internet browser, or by downloading the Zoom app)
COST: $5 per person
(If payment is an issue, click this link to request to attend for free)          
RSVP: Click here to register

This workshop focuses on what you need to know to be able to harvest seeds from your own garden plot or pot. Plants naturally go to seed, but to grow vegetables for seeds, there are basic principles to follow and techniques to use.

10. Apr 26 | Outdoor Compost and Ways for Soil Building 

Good soil is the basis for good gardening. Compost is the most important nutrient to give to your garden, especially in. It’s also free and easy to make in your own home when you know how. Composting is an environmentally-friendly way to ‘up-cycle’ your kitchen waste and yard waste.

WHEN: Sunday, April 26 at 7pm 
WHERE: Online (Zoom meeting – participants can access for free using a computer or phone via internet browser, or by downloading the Zoom app)
COST: $5 per person
(If payment is an issue, click this link to request to attend for free)          
RSVP: Click here to register

This workshop will teach the various ways of making compost, and how to use this ‘black gold’ to build healthy soil for your gardening success. Whether you are new to gardening or want to learn more about composting design for your garden, to ask questions.

11. May 6 & 9 | Herbalism Workshop – Herbs to Grow and Weeds to Keep 

Just Food, in partnership with Amber Westfall of the Wild Garden, presents this workshop on herbalism! Do not miss this inspiring session with Amber that may just elevate your relationship with your garden plants to a new level.

May 6

WHEN: Wednesday, May 6 at 6:30pm
WHERE: Online (Zoom meeting – participants can access for free using a computer or phone via internet browser, or by downloading the Zoom app)
COST: $5 per person
(If payment is an issue, click this link to request to attend for free)
RSVP: Click here to register

May 9

WHEN: Saturday, May 9 at 2pm
WHERE: Online (Zoom meeting – participants can access for free using a computer or phone via internet browser, or by downloading the Zoom app)
COST: $5 per person
(If payment is an issue, click this link to request to attend for free)
RSVP: Click here to register

Learn about adding good and healing herbs into your gardening project and how to meet those ‘weeds’ that might be worth keeping!


12. Apr 29 | Raising Backyard Chickens Workshop by Poultry Industry Council 

WHEN: Wednesday, April 29 at 10am
WHERE: Online 
COST: $35 per person
RSVP: Click here to register

MORE BREAKING NEWS on Motion from Ottawa Board of Health on Community Gardens – April 20

Part of motion from Ottawa Board of Health meeting April 20, 2020 put forward by Chair Egli:

Whereas Ottawa Public Health believes… that allotment and community gardens are also an important measure to increase food security for many residents…….be it resolved that the Board of Health of the City of Ottawa direct the Chair of the Board of Health to write a letter to the Premier of Ontario and to the Ontario Minister of Health… to exempt outdoor allotment gardens and community gardens from the closure of outdoor recreational amenities in jurisdictions where public health measures can be implemented to support their safe operation to prevent the spread of COVID19.

Passed unanimously.

BREAKING NEWS on Community Gardening in Ontario – April 20

Please see update from meeting with Premier April 20, 2020:

Multiple offices have been meeting over the past week (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Premier’s Office), are giving “serious consideration” to the issue and are “making good progress towards an exemption for community gardens”.

We requested an announcement this week that all food providing gardens (community gardens, allotments, apartment gardens, etc) are deemed essential food services, with the request that gardens can open at the end of this current emergency period – May 12 at the latest. This allows for flattening the curve on the incidence of COVID cases, and for time for gardens to organize health and safety protocols to ensure individual and public safety.

We provided them with the list of examples across Canada and beyond – see below. Please let us know any other articles you come across.

The Premier’s Office made special note of the efforts that went into developing the recommendations and found these very helpful.  (Thanks to everyone that fed into this!!). We also heard that contacting your MPPs and media coverage really had an impact and emphasized the importance of food producing gardens.  Statements of support from Mayors and Boards of Health help advance the issue too.

So while there’s no confirmation yet, it seems to be heading in the right direction, and we are hopeful to hear something more definitive soon.

The same post is also on Sustain Ontario.