On World Hunger Day, City of Ottawa announced support for more people to start food gardens at their homes
On May 27th, Ottawa City Council voted to support household food gardens. Councillor Theresa Kavanagh’s motion, The Ottawa Food Garden Project, an initiative that supports household food production, unanimously passed at City Council yesterday. This initiative will enable residents to request free soil and seeds to create or enhance their own home food garden.
The motion, seconded by rural Councillor George Darouze, requests that the City’s Human Needs Task Force (HNTF) work with Just Food to identify solutions for funding and immediate human resource and volunteer solutions required to support the project.
The Ottawa Food Garden Project is a food security initiative that also encourages residents to get active at home during the COVID-19 emergency. This citywide initiative, in partnership with HNTF and Just Food, will help to support residents in growing their own gardens in response to COVID-19.
Councillor Kavanagh noted, “With this motion passing, we will be able to partner with social service agencies and reach a lot more families struggling with lower incomes right now than we ever could with the current resources at Just Food.”
Councillor Darouze highlights that “COVID-19 has led to significant increased food and income insecurity in Ottawa. The demand for community food production has also increased.”
The City of Ottawa currently funds and partners with Just Food on their Community Gardening Network and Community Garden Development Fund to enhance the capacity of community food production in Ottawa. The demand by households in Ottawa for assistance to garden has surpassed the capacity of Just Food staff and volunteers to respond in a timely fashion, given the short growing season and need for planting to happen in the next few weeks.
Just Food has confirmed the purchase of $5,000 worth of seeds for distribution to Ottawa families with the goal of serving a minimum of 3000 families. Greely Sand and Gravel, who are also partners to the project, have committed to a significant donation of soil. “We are proud to build upon our longstanding community gardening partnerships throughout Ottawa and support this project to ensure families have what they need to get started”, says Brent Pyper, owner of Greely Sand and Gravel.
“Supporting community food production mitigates the pressure on emergency food distribution channels and builds long-term food security and community resiliency”, says Just Food Executive Director Moe Garahan. The Ottawa Food Policy Council is supportive of the City of Ottawa providing increased COVID-19 emergency support for household food production.
Councillor Kavanagh thanks Just Food, The City of Ottawa Human Needs Task Force, her colleague Councillor George Derouze and Greely Sand and Gravel company for their cooperation in getting this project going in a timely manner.
More information will be available on the JustFood.ca website within the week as to how to get involved.