Community Garden Development Fund

Community Garden Development Fund (CGDF) is an annual fund available to the community was established in the late 90s, taken on by Just Food in 2005, and enhanced with increased City of Ottawa funds in 2009. 

It is used to financially support existing and new gardens. 

To apply –  

The coordinator of the Community Gardening Network (CGN) facilitates an allocations committee that includes representation of the City of Ottawa Community Garden Liaison and rotating Garden Coordinators.

The Allocations Committee evaluates proposals and makes recommendations for funding decisions based on consensus.

Be sure to read this entire page and the entire CGN Page before you apply for the CGDF.

The attendance of at least one garden coordinator at a How to Start a Community Garden workshop is a requirement in order to receive funding through the Community Garden Development Fund.  The coordinator must have attended a workshop in one of the past 3 years.

Funding Criteria for both New and Existing Gardens

Overall Criteria for all Gardens:

  • Be based in Ottawa
  • Be non-profit
  • Use organic practices only
  • Have established community partnerships
  • Gardens must involve food production — strictly flower-only gardens are not eligible

Criteria for Existing Gardens:

Must be involved in CGN by meeting minimum requirements to maintain membership including:

  • Send someone to the 2 annual meetings (spring and fall)
  • Hand in annual evaluation on time
  • Have completed reports and expenditures for previous Community Development Fund projects on time
  • Provide previous 2 years’ budgets to demonstrate financial sustainability
  • Let garden members know about CGN activities/workshop opportunities etc. (including each year: encouraging them to join the Just Food newsletter directly, including info in your own info bulletins, posting info on sign boards in the garden, etc.)
  • Assist other gardens by sharing expertise (when possible).
  • Demonstrate in full details that other community resources are involved, however it is not required that gardens have equal matching funds from other sources.
  • For significant garden expansion, letters of support are required by community partners.

Criteria for New/Start-up Gardens:

*Please note that these items must be accounted for and incorporated into your application, but some may not necessarily be completed at time of submission.

  • Attend one of the CGN’s How to Start a Community Garden Workshops in the last three years.
  • A letter of permission from the landowner of the proposed site
  • Letter of support from local community associations
  • Have soil testing results that permit food production (must be conducted with CGN Coordinator involvement)
  • Demonstrate that other community resources are involved, however it is not required that gardens have equal matching funds from other sources
  • Demonstrated detailed garden plan 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.
    • A confirmed water plan
    • A garden budget, including long term cost recovery plans

Criteria for Gardens proposed on City of Ottawa Land:

  • Must speak to CGN coordinator before putting in an application for further criteria
  • Approvals should be completed before the application is submitted, as such any plans to build on City land would need to seek out approvals the season before the anticipated build.

Eligible/Ineligible Items:

Eligible Items:

  • Soil
  • Delivery of inputs
  • Large tools and equipment (especially for controlling weeds, ie. rototiller, weed-whacker, lawn mower, etc)
  • Garbage can
  • Composter
  • Shed
  • Fencing
  • Pathway (I.E. accessible pathway or permanent mulch between beds)
  • Materials for raised garden beds
  • Educational / interpretative and/or promotional signage
  • Translation: public signage
  • Costs associated with water source, including set-up, tap, meter, hose bibs, hoses, nozzles, troughs
  • Trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials
  • Repairs on major inputs for existing gardens (with demonstration of sustainability practices in garden)
  • Technical “expertise” related to specific issues to start-up
  • Trellis, arbour
  • Pergola
  • Water infrastructure
  • Drainage improvements
  • Other items needed for growing

One Time Eligible Items:

* For gardens that work primarily with low income participants

  • Small tools and equipment required to implement and sustain project (trays, trowels, shovels, etc.)
  • Seeds (Does not need to be certified organic seed, but it must be non-GMO seed, as per organic regulations – Consider reaching out to the Ottawa Seed Library as alternative
  • Pilot garden projects, aimed at building community capacity towards a full community garden

Ineligible Items:

  • Expenses incurred before grant approval is provided
  • Flower-only garden projects
  • Rooftop gardening projects
  • Bike rack
  • Long-term maintenance (ie. Annual funding for infusion of inputs such as topsoil, compost, water and seeds)
  • Renovation of existing buildings
  • Computer equipment
  • Staff salaries, ongoing operating costs or travel costs
  • Conferences
  • Refreshments for community event
  • Costs associated with hosting workshops
  • Marketing materials and outreach (posters materials, printing, photocopying)
  • Costs associate with hosting community events (i.e. gardening opening parties, garden build days, volunteer appreciation)
  • Garden identification signage, outside of CGN garden sign
  • Gardens proposed in a Hydro Corridor

Priorities: 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 reduced at the Committee’s discretion to allow for more projects to be funded.

How to Apply

Applications are available at the links below:

New Gardens

Existing CGN Gardens

Digital applications will be confirmed received by the coordinator, please follow up if you did not receive an email within 5 business days

Community members who wish to mail, or drop off their applications can also do so.  A word document application is available on the application page

Returning CGDF applications by post or in person:

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

Sun Shan
613) 824-7771

Past CGDF Allocations

These spreadsheets show the amount of funding each garden received from 2009-2016.

CGDF History 2 2009 CGDF
CGDF History 2 2010 CGDF
CGDF History 2 2011 CGDF
CGDF History 2 2012 CGDF
CGDF History 2 2013 CGDF
CGDF History 2 2014 CGDF
CGDF History 2 2015 CGDF
CGDF History 2 2016 CGDF