Skip to main content

Community Gardens in Canada

It's summer time and people of all ages are pretty excited to be outdoors after a long and hard winter. If you are in Canada, one fantastic way to get outside and connect with nature during spring and summer is to take part in community gardening in the neighborhood. Community gardens have become very popular in Canada and has been garnering a lot of public participation over the last few years. Considering the major cities in Canada, there are approximately 242 community gardens in Toronto, 200 in Calgary, 115 in Ottawa, 110 in Vancouver and 100 in Montreal. 

Community gardens are set up in city parks, city owned lands and private lands and are completely managed by gardeners themselves, without any professional assistance. The garden could be divided into plots and allocated to individuals (on first come, first serve basis) or can be communal, where everyone works together on the whole garden. In these type of gardens, vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowering plants will be grown, focusing on food production; than growing ornamental plants as seen in parks. A community gardens' reap could be open to everyone or is grown exclusively to donate to food banks or could be only for owner’s consumption. 

These community gardens can be run by non-profit organizations, schools, churches, municipalities, individual land owners, community associations etc. If you wish to start and manage one, it is definitely possible, however it involves a lot of planning and effort. With a group of enthusiasts and a plan in place, you may contact your regional community garden network board to set up the garden. Otherwise, you can partake in a neighborhood garden by registering with them.

Community gardening has innumerable benefits for both the individual and society. It offers a wonderful chance to connect with nature; a space to grow plants for those living in smaller spaces; a platform to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds; learn and share knowledge about plants and gardening; use unutilized land and cultivate organic vegetables, fruits and herbs; improve environment by enhancing air and soil quality and bio-diversity; provide physical activity and relieves stress and thereby improving overall well-being; reduce wastage by converting them into compost and the list goes on.

Last month, we visited a community garden run by Country Hills Park in Kitchener, Ontario. This garden is open to public, however priority is given to those living within the country hills community. They have more than 70 plots of different sizes starting from 4 ft x 4 ft, 4ft x 12ft, 10ft x 12ft and 16ft x 16ft and each plot is rented at $5-$35 an year. They have specially put up few raised garden beds for kids. Along with the land, they provide water, compost and tools. 

If we rent a plot, apart from tending to our plot, we have to join one of the groups to maintain the garden by removing weeds time-to-time, laying and maintaining mulch, preparing compost and growing food for local food banks. After harvesting, the plot owners can donate excess produce to food banks or leave in the food baskets for others to help themselves.

Photo taken at Country Hills Community Garden on 15th May 2022

Photo taken at Country Hills Community Garden on 1st June 2022

Cupboard at garden to hold free produce

This garden had lots of vegetables, fruits and flowering plants, few of them had already germinated and grown couple of inches. It was a pleasant sight to find many kids enthusiastically assisting their adults. This is a great way to teach young ones about farming, the effort involved in producing food and instill the value of food.

I met a plot owner who lives in a nearby apartment. Though she is very fond of plants, she wasn't able to grow them at home as her balcony doesn't get enough sunlight. She was obviously delighted when the garden was started here and had been associated with it since then. She was appreciative of the couple who started this garden and their relentless efforts in shaping it over the last 2 years. One disappointing factor she quoted was people stealing away the produce. Last year, someone stole her fresh crop leaving her dejected after spending lot of time, effort and money. She wishes people could be sensible and don't do such acts in the future. Despite this, she has rented few plots this year too and is looking forward to a bountiful harvest. 

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook to read my latest articles!!

If you wish to take a tour of the garden, do check out this video.


Popular posts from this blog

Review: Anex Monkey Smart Watch

Hello Readers,  Welcome back. While browsing through a weekly flyer by Canadian Tire, my eyes got hold of a smart watch, primarily for its name - Monkey Smart Watch. It's original price was $89.99. On account of Father's Day, the price was slashed 70% and offered for just $24.99 (from June 9th to June 16th).  As it was listed on Canadian Tire website, I thought the product should be genuine and googled to know more about the product. But there weren't sufficient reviews online. So I decided to try it myself and booked it online. This smart watch was launched in the last quarter of 2021 as Anex Monkey Smart Watch. Last year, it had been sold for just $19.99 as part of Black Friday deal. Even after 5 days of waiting, Canadian Tire didn't process my order. On the other hand, the stock was vanishing real quick and only 80 watches were available in our near by store. When checked with their customer service executive, I was told to cancel my online order or wait until they p

Are you planning to take CELPIP?

It is a known fact that anyone who aspires to come to Canada on a student visa or as a Permanent Resident has to give an English Test to prove their proficiency. If you are contemplating between IELTS and CELPIP or want to know which test suits you better or looking for some guidance on how to prepare for CELPIP, then read on. This blog is specially curated for you!! ** Long post alert - consider this article as an essay from IELTS / CELPIP reading. Voila, you already started your preparationšŸ‘ IELTS is an English Language Test that is accepted by wider English speaking countries like the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland and hence its reputation amongst the aspiring immigrants. Unlike IELTS, CELPIP is Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), specifically designed to evaluate test takers ability to function in English for Canada's permanent residency, citizenship and professional designation. In the recent times, especially during the pandemic, man

Why I Write - Q&A with Manu

I keep getting direct and indirect questions on Why I Write? There won't be a better occasion than this to address this Q and other frequently asked Qs. It's been exactly 2 years since I started this website -  Manu's Medley  and apparently this is my 100th blog post.  So Why I Write?  I can give a fancier reply stating "I chose to follow my passion". But I won't, as it isn't true. After being in the IT industry for more than a decade, working tirelessly all through the weeks, months and years, I moved to Canada carrying my little one, when the whole world was witnessing one of the deadliest diseases COVID. It was at the same time, I had to take a career break due to few compelling personal reasons and decided to be a full time mom.  It's a new place and a new role, with almost zero support, unlike the support system at India. To top it, the lockdowns and restrictions were never ending. The three of us spent months together within our apartment and my

Recipe: Idiyappam | Sevai | String Hoppers

Idiyappam, is a well known break fast item in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka. It is also known as sevai or string hoppers (in English) and is primarily made out of rice floor. Like idli, idiyappam is made through steaming using no oil, making it very easily digestible and light on stomach.  When I think about idiyappam, I remember 2 instances from my childhood. One of my friend's mom, used to feed her 2 year old with different colourful sevais for evening snack - white, yellow, red along with a liquid version of it too, almost 3-4 times in a week. Later I learnt from her elder daughter (my friend) that they are coconut sevai (sweet version), lemon sevai, tomato sevai and rasam sevai. Though born and brought up in Chennai, we aren't much into idiyappams.  I don't remember eating them until I crossed 10 years. Whenever we visit a doctor with fever, our doctor used to give a list of food items - kanji, bread, idli, idiyappam and rasam rice, which I was usually averse to even

Book: Before We Say Goodbye by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Before We Say Goodbye by Toshikazu Kawaguchi is the 3rd book I read this year. The 2nd was Meet Me in Mumbai by Sabina Khan. I have posted its audio synopsis and review on my you tube channel - Our_Bookshelf. It is available in this link . Meanwhile, if you wish to read my latest articles and watch the content I create, follow me on  Instagram  and  Facebook !!  Before The Coffee Gets Cold is the first book as part of the series written by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. It was originally a play written in Japanese in 2010 that turned out to be a bit hit. Later it was published as a novel in the same language in the year 2015. Due to its popularity, the book was translated into English. The author published sequels Tales from the Cafe, Before Your Memory Fades, Before We Say Goodbye, Before We Forget Kindness in 2017, 2018, 2021 and 2023 respectively. All except Before We Forget Kindness have been translated into English and the fifth book is expected to be released in English in Nov 2024. When I