Community Garden update after meeting with Premier’s Office

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Author: Josie Di Felice

Posted: April 20, 2020

Categories: Community Gardens / GoodFoodBites / News from Sustain Ontario

An update from Moe Garahan and Rhonda Teitel-Payne, Co-Chairs of the Ontario Community Growing Network, after meeting with the Premier’s Office this afternoon:

Multiple offices have been meeting over the past week (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Premier’s Office), giving “serious consideration” to the issue surrounding community gardens 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 a list of jurisdictions across Canada and beyond that are allowing community gardens to operate during COVID-19 — see on the OCGN webpage here.

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.

– Moe Garahan and Rhonda Teitel-Payne