A message from Karen Sciuk, Vice-President, Master Gardeners of Ontario re: the closure of community gardens in Ontario.
I was alarmed, as you may be, that Community Gardens in the province have been closed by the province and listed under recreational activities, most likely as they are often located on public lands managed by recreational departments. Community Gardens help to feed thousands, either directly or through contributions to food banks and shelters. Although there is the potential for large groups of people to
be gardening in close proximity or pass on Covid 19 through shared implements there must be a way for groups to work out gardening schedules and decontamination procedures to avoid this. These places are urban farms!
If this current shut down only last two weeks and stops before the majority of vegetables need to be planted it might be fine, but I am betting the emergency measures closures will be prolonged. The Community Networks need to act fast to come up with safety procedures to help them
in convincing the government that they can be safe places.
In the spirit of this overlooked community contribution to food security at a time when many are losing income, Sustain Ontario: https://www.facebook.com/SustainOnt/; https://sustainontario.com/ has posted an open letter to the Ontario Government to identify community gardens as an essential food service:
https://sustainontario.com/2020/03/31/community-gardens-essential-food-service/ Other provinces have.
I am hoping you all agree that we should pass it on to all our MG groups. Although MGOI does not have an official link with community garden networks, many MG groups are involved with local community gardens in public education, mentoring and coaching roles.
Please sign the letter if you are associated with a community garden. Please pass it on to your own group membership and other groups if you are a Regional Director. Many MGs are also likely to be involved with one as community members outside of their MG duties. We should help spread the word about this petition and contribute.
Karen Karen Sciuk, Vice-President, Master Gardeners of Ontario