Community gardens

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Year of the Garden

City Council declared 2022 as the Year of the Garden, as part of Canada’s Year of the Garden 2022 to celebrate today’s vibrant garden culture, and create important legacies for a sustainable future. Join the celebration by joining or starting a community garden.

About community gardens

A community garden is a shared space where people work together to grow food and build community. Community gardens help contribute to:

  • Food security
  • Community development
  • Civic participation
  • Neighborhood revitalization
  • Environmental awareness
  • Individual mental and physical health and wellbeing

There are over 115 community gardens in Ottawa:

  • 25+ are on land owned by the City of Ottawa.
  • The City manages the Kilborn Allotment Gardens.
  • All other community gardens are managed by volunteer garden coordinators, who are members of their particular garden.
  • Garden coordinators make decisions regarding the operations of their garden.

A community garden may include individual/family plots and/or communal plots. Many gardens feature a Plant-a-Row or Share-a-Row model. This allows for sharing fresh food with neighbours in need. 

Gardens vary by size, model and theme. For example, many gardens feature a children’s garden and some are entirely devoted to children. Most gardens have a membership fee, where residents rent a garden plot and steward it as their own.

Join or start a community garden

To find a community garden near you, visit the Community Gardening Map and contact the garden of your choice for information on availability of plots.

To start a new community garden, visit How to Start a Community Garden for information on the next free virtual workshop. These workshops are held regularly throughout the year for interested community members. No experience is needed.

Questions?

Contact the Community Gardening Network Coordinator at Just Food: communitygardening@justfood.ca or leave a message at 613-824-7771.

The Community Gardening Network

The Community Gardening Network is a program of Just Food Ottawa. The Network supports the sustainable development of community gardens within the city of Ottawa. They:

  • Help two or more new community gardens get started each year.
  • Hold workshops, share information and resources, and train the garden coordinators.
  • Help with funding.
  • Work with landowners to access land for community gardens.
  • Work in partnership with the City to support new garden start-ups on City-owned land.

If disputes arise in a community garden, the Network will act as mediator if garden members cannot resolve the dispute on their own.

Community Garden Liaison for City of Ottawa

The Community Gardening Network (CGN) turns to the City’s Community Garden Liaison for help with requests about City property. The Community Garden Liaison:

  • Receives advice from the CGN about which groups are ready to start a new garden on City-owned land.
  • Works with staff across the City to prepare for a new garden.
  • Works with CGN to ensure a new garden is built to City standards.
  • Is the liaison between CGN and various City departments for accessing City services related to community gardens.

The City and the Community Garden Liaison do not get involved in disputes about the management of individual gardens. This is part of the role of the CGN.

Kilborn Allotment Gardens

The 2022 gardening season at 1975 Kilborn Avenue will run from May 4 to October 28. Gardening hours are from between 7:30 am to 7:30 pm.

  • Access to the gardens will only be allowed on foot until May 18 (weather permitting). Do not use wheelbarrows as they could damage the ground and cause future issues.
  • Access to the sheds will begin on May 4.
  • Water is expected to be turned on May 18.

The delivery of waste and compost bins may be delayed for a few weeks due to the ground’s softness.

Rules and guidelines

  1. Residents should continue daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms for all family members and stay home when sick. Do not come to the garden if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  2. Masks are optional. Some individuals may choose to wear masks in places where they are not required; please be kind and respectful of others’ choices.

Waste and compost bins

  • The delivery of waste and compost bins will be delayed for a few weeks due to the ground’s softness.
  • Please be mindful to properly separate organic waste and regular waste.
    • Bins at the location are for either organic waste only, or for regular waste only, and are not to be combined. Waste management will not pick up the bins if they are not pre-sorted first, which will make it harder to maintain gardens.

Water

  • Water is to be used for gardening and handwashing purposes only.
  • Water is shared amongst all gardeners, so please be mindful to allow other gardeners the use of the water valves.
  • For those who have multiple plots, please be mindful not to use all surrounding water structures at once. This greatly reduces the water pressure for all other gardeners.
  • You may not leave the water unattended on your plot via sprinklers.
  • If you notice a broken or leaking valve, please email jardinkilborngarden@ottawa.ca with the location (plot # area) so that we can try to fix it.
  • All gardeners must use caution when using shared equipment, such as water taps, and must wear gloves for its use.
    • If using disposable gloves, it is your responsibility to dispose of them appropriately. Failure to do so is considered littering and you can be fined by By-law.

Maintenance of plot

There are many people looking for gardening plots. Therefore, any plots that have not been tended or worked on by June will get a warning.

  • If the plot is not tended to by the end of June, the plot will be removed and reallocated to someone on our waitlist.
  • Please note, if you are in a situation where you may be sick or unable to garden, please email jardinkilborngarden@ottawa.ca with your plot number and we can work together to find a solution.
  • Community gardens are for food production. Ornamental gardens are outside the scope of Community gardens. There is no issue if gardeners plant pollinators within their existing community garden in approved plots, although they should not be adding additional features without the City's approval.

Safety and personal hygiene equipment

  • Use your own garden gloves and bring them home to wash each day.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly immediately after taking off your gloves.
  • Frequently-touched surfaces may be contaminated. Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces in the garden.

Washing and selling of produce

  • Selling vegetables from your garden is not allowed and against our rules. If you are found selling, you will no longer be allowed to rent from us in the future.
  • Washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running tap water is recommended as per normal when preparing food. Always wash your hands with soap and water before washing fruits and vegetables, and between handling different kinds of foods. Visit Ottawa Public Health’s Keeping food safe (clean, cook, chill, separate) for more information.