The COVID19 Pandemic and the Rise of Home Gardening

Over the past few weeks, COVID-19 has forced many cities to enforce social distancing and close non-essential businesses. In a recent New York Times article (Read more) and a CBC British Columbia article (Read more), the current economic situation and precarity of the future has resulted in a resurgence of the idea of Victory Gardens.

“Gardens flourished on the home front because people were eager to build their own community-based food security, and to cultivate something beautiful and useful in times of great stress and uncertainty” – Rose Hayden-Smith, the author of “Sowing the Seeds of Victory: American Gardening Programs of World War I

Victory Gardens were part of a campaign during World War I and World War II to encourage people across the country to grow their own food wherever they could find space including rooftops, backyards, empty lots and fire escapes! The campaign was meant to supplement rations but also to boost morale. 

Right now, we are seeing seed stores selling out and gardening supplies are in high demand (Read more). Whether it is to start a new hobby during this period of social distancing or an act of self-reliance in fear or supply chain disruptions or job loss, many people, including first-time gardeners are digging into the soil. The new Facebook group GrowFoodToronto (Join here) is a community to share resources and knowledge to support the growing demand for at-home gardening. Also, be sure to check out the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council’s Community Events Calendar (Click here) for upcoming (digital) events and gardening workshops! 

Unfortunately, the Ontario Government recently declared that community gardens are recreational services, not essential and gardens across the province will be closed (Read more). There are a number of organizations looking to appeal this decision including Toronto Urban Growers (Read more) and Sustain Ontario (Read more)

Read the full New York Times article

Read the full CBC British Columbia article