Community Garden Action Plan
The Economic Development and Parks Committee recommends the adoption of the recommendations of the
Environmental Task Force contained in the following report (June3, 1999) from the City Clerk:
The Environmental Task Force at its meeting held on May 31, 1999, adopted the following recommendations:
(1)that the Community Garden Department Goals for 1999 and 2000, as described in the May13, 1999 report from the
Commissioner of Economic Development, Culture and Tourism be endorsed, and that a copy of the report be forwarded to
the Economic Development and Parks Committee and the Toronto Inter-Departmental Environment (TIE) Committee;
(2)that the Environmental Task Force incorporate the Community Garden Departmental Goals for 1999 and 2000, as
described in the May 13, 1999 report from the Commissioner of Economic Development, Culture and Tourism, into the
Environmental Plan that is being prepared by the Environmental Task Force; and
(3)that the Commissioner of Economic Development, Culture and Tourism be advised of the above actions of the
Environmental Task Force.
The Environmental Task Force had before it a report dated May 13, 1999, from the Commissioner of Economic
Development, Culture and Tourism responding to a request from the Environmental Task Force that an action plan to
increase the area of the City devoted to community gardening and the number of participants in community gardens, be
The aforementioned report recommended that:
(a)future reports on community garden activities be presented to the Economic Development and Parks Committee, with
copies directed to the Toronto Interdepartmental Environment Committee; and
(b)community garden sites be identified in each Ward in consultation with local Ward Councillors.
(Report dated May 13, 1999 addressed to the Environmental Task Force
from the Commissioner of Economic Development, Culture and Tourism,
headed "Community Garden Action Plan")
To identify a Community Garden Action Plan in response to a request to the January 28, 1999 Environmental Task Force
recommendation that "the Commissioner of Economic Development, Culture and Tourism prepare an action plan to
increase the area of the City devoted to community gardening and the number of participants in community gardens be
The costs to create additional community gardens will be garnered through partnership arrangements and in-kind services.
It is recommended that:
(1)future reports on community garden activities be presented to the Economic Development Committee, with copies
directed to the Toronto Interdepartmental Environment Committee; and
(2)community garden sites be identified in each Ward in consultation with local Ward Councillors.
Definition of Community Gardens:
Gardening is the second most popular form of leisure activity in Canada, attracting 72 percent of Canadian adults
according to Go for Green: The Active Living and Environment Program. Public lands and public parklands provide
opportunities for creating and demonstrating the benefits of gardening and for encouraging individuals to be part of a
community that shares the efforts and benefits of gardening. Community gardens are safe, beautiful outdoor spaces on
public or private lands, where neighbours meet to grow and care for vegetables, flowers and native species, and where the
gardeners take initiative and responsibility for organizing, maintaining and managing the garden area.
The Parks and Recreation Division and Community Gardens:
The Parks and Recreation Division endeavours to provide opportunities, on lands under the Division's jurisdiction, for
community gardeners and community groups to establish and maintain community gardens. Staff from the Division work
with organized community groups to start food, flower and/or native species gardens that beautify or enhance public lands,
and which engage sustained community involvement by youth, families, seniors, intergenerational, ethnic and multicultural
groups. Parks and Recreation administers over twenty-five hundred plots in allotment and neighbourhood gardens across
the City. The Division encourages new and established community gardens to partner with community organizations and
other levels of government to create additional opportunities, e.g., youth employment, volunteer activity, restoration of
natural areas and community development.
Benefits of Community Gardens:
Community gardens have many benefits to neighbourhoods and to the city as a whole as they:
(a)provide opportunities for information sharing on gardening, composting, recycling, healthy living activities,
community recreation, heritage, environmental and cultural issues;
(b)encourage communities to care for and improve public lands;
(c)promote community organization, leadership and development;
(d)build community spirit and civic pride;
(e)promote health and well being;
(f)provide intergenerational recreational opportunities;
(h)improve neighbourhood safety;
(i)increase local food self-reliance;
(j)provide families with low-cost nutritious vegetables; and
(k)demonstrate ecological principles and natural processes.
Departmental Goals 1999 and 2000:
(1)To map out existing community gardens and assess the need for additional community gardening opportunities in
1999. To support the start-up of new community gardens in Toronto in each year based on the results of the needs
(2)To establish one community garden in each ward by the end of the year 2001.
(3)To share expertise relevant to creating and sustaining community gardens.
(4)To assist community gardeners in sustaining community gardens through a resource tool kit and train-the-trainer
Community Gardens - Opportunities in 1999 and Beyond:
There are numerous opportunities on the horizon for the City as it solidifies its involvement in community gardens. These
(i)participating in the Community Garden Network;
(ii)participating in public and private partnerships (e.g., Public Health, Works & Emergency Services, local sponsors);
(iii)synchronizing volunteer interest with community garden and stewardship projects;
(iv)programming (children's, youth, inter-generational, multi-cultural, horticulture, native species, etc.); and
(v)making significant contributions to the broader community garden, urban agriculture and community greening
The proposed Action Plan builds on the eighty-eight established community gardens, twenty-five hundred
City-administered plots and estimated six thousand community gardeners in Toronto. City-wide, twenty neighbourhood
and thirteen allotment gardens are located in parks, fifteen on public housing lands, forty on Community Health Centres,
faith groups, cooperative housing and hospital properties. Additionally, there are dozens of community restoration projects
and approximately three hundred school projects.
Drawing on the technical, horticultural, planning and programming expertise of knowledgeable and dedicated staff in the
Parks and Recreation Division and other City Departments, and City Councillors, the City can support community
gardening in its movement towards being an increasingly mainstream activity. Parks and Recreation Division currently
works with numerous partners to support community gardens, community greening projects and community groups.
Partners include FoodShare, Evergreen, African Food Basket, the Toronto District School Board, Task Force to Bring Back
the Don, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, City Councillors and City Departments (Works and Emergency
Services, Community and Neighbourhood Services, Urban Planning and Development Services) and others.
Economic Development, Culture and Tourism should increase the area devoted to community gardens and increase the
number of community gardeners, because community gardening relates to the Department's basic greening and
environmental mandate and allocation of resources. The identification of community garden sites in each Ward be done in
consultation with local Ward Councillors. The approach outlined in this report provides for an incremental increase in the
numbers of community gardens and community gardeners as suggested by the Environmental Task Force and keeping in
mind competing resources.
In accordance with the Economic Development, Culture and Tourism Department primary reporting mandate, reports on
community gardening will be presented to the Economic Development and Parks Committee. The Department is pleased to
provide updates to other committees and groups with interests in community planting and environmental matters.
Ms. Jane Hayes, Parks and Recreation Division, 392-1560; Mr. Solomon Boye, 392-1560.