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New Ontario emergency order permits use of community gardens

The Ontario government issued a new emergency order on Saturday morning, permitting the use of allotment gardens and community gardens across the province.

“These gardens are an essential source of fresh food for some individuals and families, including those who face food insecurity,” said the Ontario government in its April 25 press release. “Local medical officers of health will provide advice, recommendation and instructions that the gardens must meet in order to operate, such as physical distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly used equipment and surfaces.”

The emergency order follows a City of Kingston motion this week, tabled by Councillor Robert Kiley with a second by Councillor Jim Neill, that asked the province to consider “local flexibility” to provincial orders. The motion mentioned the example of “community gardens and other outdoor activities” that could benefit from additional local flexibility, noting that any such changes at the local level would continue to respect physical distancing and be at the guidance of Public Health. The motion carried 9-3. It was not immediately clear whether the City of Kingston motion weighed on the Ontario government’s decision.

For some advice on growing your own food, please see Jennifer Glenn’s recent article on this topic here. A list of community gardens in the Kingston area can be found here.

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