Keep gardens open petitions - Ontario and Toronto

Success! On April 25, the Province of Ontario declared that  community and allotment gardens are an essential source of healthy food and will be allowed to open with guidance from local health authorities for safe practices. See announcement here (bullet #3). 

The City of Toronto Council and Toronto's Medical Officer of Health have received recommendations for safety protocols for Toronto community gardens. Approval of these guidelines will be the next step to opening gardens in Toronto. 

List of jurisdictions in Canada that are allowing community gardens to remain open 


The City of Toronto has announced that all City-operated allotment gardens and community gardens in City parks will be closed until further notice. Click here for  the press release, see the March 25 item. 

If you want to send a message to the City to say that gardens can protect public safety without jeopardizing the health of low income and marginalized gardeners, you can use a petition drafted by Toronto Urban Growers and other urban ag organizations and activists.

You can:
1. Sign the petition on be aware that money collected by does not go to TUG or other Toronto organizations. is a private for-profit company.

2. Fill out the petition through a TUG Google form

3. Adapt the petition for a personal message to your councillor and Mayor John Tory.  Download a PDF file or copy the text below.

Call to the City of Toronto: 

Keep Community and Allotment Gardens Open

To: Toronto City Council and City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division

As community gardeners and supporters of growing food in the city, we applaud the City of Toronto’s position that physical distancing is a top priority to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In keeping with the spirit of protecting the health of all Toronto residents, we request that the City remove restrictions on community and allotment gardens on or before May 1, 2020 with the following stipulations:

  • Gardens will only be open to gardeners, staff assigned to gardens and official garden volunteers. Gardens will be closed to the public and no gatherings will be permitted until physical distancing measures are lifted
  • Gardens will adopt the Best Practices for COVID-19 in Community and Allotment Gardens in Toronto and develop site-specific plans to maintain physical distancing and sanitary procedures. Plans will be posted at garden sites and shared with all gardeners.


Gardens have the capacity to maintain the physical distancing and hygiene practices necessary to combat the spread of COVID-19. They can also be powerful channels for educating the public about containment measures.

Community and allotment gardens are not merely recreation sites, they are important ways for low income and marginalized people (particularly Black, Indigenous and people of colour) to grow the food they need to stay healthy. When 28.4% of Black households face food insecurity compared to 10% of White households[1], the City must support any effort to improve food access for Black communities, including increasing garden spaces available to Black and Indigenous people. 

The Province of Ontario recognized food production as an essential service in its COVID-19 emergency declaration. Both food businesses and non-profit organizations responsible for providing food are exempt from closure.

Public safety can be protected better by addressing breaches of physical distancing protocols when they occur, rather than closing down facilities that are essential services for many people and that can and do demonstrate good practices.

Other large cities, such as New York[2], have implemented these protocols, recognizing the importance of community gardens and the ability to maintain public safety.

The City must ensure that its efforts to protect citizens do not negatively impact people living on low incomes and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) communities. We can’t afford to deepen the divisions in our society, particularly during a public health crisis.



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