Community Garden Development Fund

The Community Garden Development Fund (CGDF) is an annual, renewable fund available to the community, which is used to fund the creation of new gardens and the expansion/enhancement projects of existing gardens. The CGDF was established in the late 90s, taken on by Just Food in 2005, and fortified with increased funding from the City of Ottawa in 2009.  

The Community Gardening Network (CGN) Coordinator facilitates groups looking to apply for funding and collaborates with them throughout the process of putting an application together.
They also facilitate the CGDF Allocations Committee that includes experienced Garden Coordinators. The Allocations Committee reviews each and every single application, evaluates proposals and makes recommendations for funding decisions based on consensus.

Please be sure to read this entire page before you apply for funding with the CGDF.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to apply for funding through the CGDF,
at least one garden coordinator/team member from your garden
must attend a How to Start a Community Garden workshop. 

These workshops are held multiple times throughout the year.
The coordinator must have attended a workshop in the past 3 years.

Sign up for the Just Food newsletter to find out when the next workshop is and scroll down to see our “Newsbites” section on our homepage to stay informed!

Overall Criteria for all Gardens:

  • Be based in Ottawa
  • Be non-profit
  • Employ organic practices only
  • Have established community partnerships
  • Gardens must involve food production. Flower-only gardens are not eligible for funding. (Although you certainly may incorporate flowers/pollinator patches in your community garden plan).

The following is a list of items/tasks that every new garden application must check off their list. 

*Please note that while these items must be accounted for and
incorporated into your application, some of them may not necessarily
be completed at time of submission (and that is OK!)
The CGN Coordinator will also work with you to assemble these components.

  • Attend a How to Start a Community Garden Workshop in the last three years (only 1 member of your team needs to attend).
  • Provide a letter of permission from the landowner of the proposed site (if the site is on private land)
  • Provide letter(s) of support from local community associations/organizations, faith-groups etc.
  • Provide professional soil test results that permit safe food production (this must be conducted with CGN Coordinator involvement, and can be funded through the CGDF itself)
  • Demonstrate that other community resources will be used (monetary donations, donated items, etc.) however it is not required that gardens have equally matching funds from other sources
  • Provide a detailed garden plan and visual (drawing, maquette, etc.) including the following:
    • Descriptions of how the garden will be developed
    • How the garden will operate and make decisions
    • How the garden will be maintained and organized administratively and operationally
    • A confirmed water plan
    • 2 garden budgets: 1 budget for the initial development of the garden, and 1 budget for the long-term financing/cost recovery of the garden

If you are an existing garden, in order to access CGDF funds, you must meet minimum CGN membership requirements, including:

  • Having representation at the 2 annual Garden Coordinator Meetings (Spring and Fall)
  • Submitting the annual survey/evaluation on time
  • Having completed financial reports and expenditure reports for previous CGDF-funded projects on time
  • Providing the previous 2 years’ budgets to demonstrate financial sustainability (including specifying which other community resources have provided funding – however it is not required that gardens have equal matching funds from other sources)
  • Informing garden members about CGN activities/workshop opportunities etc. (including encouraging them to sign up for the Just Food newsletter, including Just Food info in your own info bulletins, posting info on sign boards in the garden, etc.)
  • For significant garden expansion, letters of support are required by community partners
  • Please speak to CGN Coordinator before putting in an application for a new garden or expansions/additions on City or NCC land.
  • The City or NCC location must first be approved before an application can be submitted, otherwise you risk having your application rejected (and all the time and hard work then went into it) if it is discovered that your desired location or expansion/additions cannot be approved. 
  • Approvals must be granted before the application can be completed.
  • Gardens wishing to build on City/NCC-stewarded land will take longer to approve. 

The following items are eligible for funding through the CGDF.

Ongoing Eligible Items:

  • Initial Soil 
  • Delivery of other inputs (compost, gravel, sand)
  • Large tools and equipment (especially for controlling weeds, ie. rototiller, weed-whacker, lawn mower, as well as wheelbarrows, etc.)
  • Garbage can
  • Composter
  • Shed and shed preparation costs (leveling the ground, building the foundation)
  • Fencing (for gardens on private land)
  • Pathways (i.e. accessible pathways or permanent mulch between beds)
  • Materials for new raised garden beds (lumber, nails, geotextile fabric etc.)
  • Educational / interpretative and/or promotional signage
  • Translation for public signage
  • Water infrastructure/systems, including: set-up, taps, water meters, hose bibs, hoses, hose wheels, nozzles, troughs, irrigation parts
  • Trees, shrubs and native perennials
  • Repairs on major infrastructure for existing gardens (with demonstration of sustainability practices in garden, and proper maintenance)
  • Technical/contractor services (i.e. hiring a slinger to fill beds with soil, etc.)
  • Trellises, arbours and pergolas (provided they are used to grow climbing food plants like grapes, runner beans, etc.)
  • Drainage improvements
  • Ground leveling
  • Other items deemed essential for food production

One-Time Eligible Items:

* For community gardens that cater primarily to low-income participants

  • Small tools and equipment required to implement and sustain food production (trays, trowels, shovels, etc.)
  • Seeds and seedlings. These do not need to be certified organic seed, but they must be non-GMO seed, as per organic regulations. 
  • Pilot garden projects, aimed at building community capacity towards a full community garden

Please note that due to a high volume of applicants, the Allocations Committee prioritizes those items that are essential to the establishment of community gardens.  As such, proposed budgets may be edited/reduced at the Committee’s discretion to allow for more projects to be funded. The Allocations Committee will always provide reasoning if funding for a specific item/request is rejected.

  • Expenses incurred before CGDF approval is provided
  • Flower-only garden projects
  • Rooftop gardening projects
  • Bike racks
  • Pic-nic tables
  • Long-term maintenance, ie. recurring annual funding for inputs such as topsoil, compost, water and seeds. These items should be paid for using the garden’s membership fees or using community donations/fundraising if you are a communal garden
  • Renovation of existing buildings near/in the garden
  • Computer equipment
  • Staff salaries, ongoing operating costs or travel costs
  • Conferences
  • Refreshments/food for community events
  • Costs associated with hosting workshops 
  • Marketing materials and outreach (posters materials, printing, photocopying)
  • Costs associated with hosting community events (i.e. gardening opening parties, volunteer appreciation parties, etc.)
  • Garden identification signage, other than the CGN garden sign
  • Gardens proposed in a hydro corridor – not permitted

Please note that it takes some time to review and process applications.

  • Depending on the land steward (City, NCC, school, private, etc) and their rules and processes, getting a garden from application to start date takes varying lengths of time.

  • We encourage folks to connect with the CGN Coordinator and start the process at any part of the year, knowing that we will get through it together as quickly as possible. 

Application forms are available for you to download – by clicking on the links below:

New Gardens

Existing CGN Gardens 

To complete an application you may:

  • Complete an application form and email it as a PDF or Word document
  • Create a Google Document and share it with
  • Mail your application via post

Receipt of all applications will always be confirmed the CGN coordinator. Please follow up if you have not received a receipt of confirmation via email within 5 business days.

We’re here to collaborate with you on filling out this application, and are happy to provide feedback as you proceed.

Just Food
c/o Community Gardening Network
2391 Pepin Crt.
Ottawa, ON
K1B 4Z3

CGN Coordinator:


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