Community gardens permitted to open in Cambridge and across the Region

Posted on Monday May 04, 2020

Beginning this week, community gardens will be permitted to reopen in Cambridge and across the Region of Waterloo.

The City of Cambridge, the Community Garden Council, and Region of Waterloo Public Health will work together to ensure a safe transition plan for gardens that choose to reopen. 

Community gardens are places where people can grow a variety of vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers by renting plots of land within the garden.  They are run by neighborhood associations, non-profit organizations, community agencies, and other groups.

Many of the gardens donate healthy produce to the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank and other local organizations that support vulnerable populations.

“I am delighted that our community gardens can re-open during the pandemic as this is an important food source for many families,” said City of Cambridge Mayor Kathryn McGarry. “Growing your own food provides access to a variety of fresh produce at low cost and not only supports nutrition, but the exercise and fresh air supports improved mental health.  As well, our gardens help support the food bank and shelters and therefore provide nourishment to many in need.”

On April 25, the Ontario Government announced new amendments to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that permit the use of community gardens across the province as an essential service.

As a safety precaution, access to the gardens will only be permitted to community garden volunteers with assigned plots. Community gardens must follow a series of strict protocols in order for the gardens to operate, such as following physical distancing measures and the disinfection of shared tools and common areas.  Region of Waterloo Public Health has outlined the guidelines in more detail in a news release here.

Gardeners who do not follow these recommendations may be asked to leave the garden, or may face fines for non-compliance under the Ontario Emergency Measures Orders and Regulations.

The City of Cambridge by-law enforcement team can be contacted regarding any concerns about compliance with the legislation at bylaw@cambridge.ca. Gardeners can contact Public Health with questions at 519-575-4400.

For more information about specific community gardens in the Cambridge area and their plans, please contact the garden directly or the Community Garden Council at community-gardens.ca.

 

-30-

Primary media contact

Susanne Hiller
Director of Communications
City of Cambridge
hillers@cambridge.ca