Growing in the City

Growing in the City is all about enhancing our local, urban food systems on both public and private land.

Urban gardening and food production contribute positively to health and well-being, social interaction, connection to nature, and environmental education, while creating healthy and diverse ecosystems, building communities and our food security.

Here are some of the ways you can start 'Growing in the City':

Boulevard Gardening
Boulevard Gardening Guidelines have been designed to help beginners and experts garden on City of Victoria boulevards more confidently and responsibly. Learn how you can transform the boulevard beside your property into a beautiful and healthy garden.

Community Gardens and Orchards
The Community Gardens Policy encourages local non-profit organizations to establish community allotment gardens, commons gardens and orchards. Find a community garden near you or learn about starting your own.

New! Small Scale Commercial Urban Food Production
Now you can grow, harvest, package, store and sell a range of food anywhere in the city, while limiting impacts to your neighbours. Apply for a business licence to sell unprocessed food products both off-site (retail stores, restaurants, etc.) as well as on-site (food stands.) More information and a handbook to help get you started are available here.

New! Urban Food Tree Stewardship Pilot Program 
* 2016 Applications will be accepted until Friday, December 2 *
Residents, through a community organization, can now apply to plant and maintain five or less fruit and nut trees in a local green space. The City will work with the community organization to find suitable locations. Trees must be planted from October to November. Read more about the program here [PDF - 388 KB] and apply to become a Food Tree Steward here [PDF - 38 KB].

Other ways we're getting growing:

Inventory of City-owned Land for Community Food Growing
An inventory of all City-owned properties is currently in development. Once complete, it will provide guidance on suitable land for gardening activities, assessing properties technical suitability and ranking them into one of four categories. Community projects on these sites would also be subject to public consultation. More information will be posted here in the coming months. 

Funding for the Compost Education Centre
The City provides a Strategic Plan Grant to the Compost Education Centre in Fernwood, where the public can learn composting and organic gardening skills. In 2016, the Compost Education Centre is using these funds for Healing City Soils, a soil testing program in partnership with Royal Roads University.

City micro-grants, up to a maximum of $500, are awarded to cover supplies needed for food production in community gardens.

Community Garden Volunteer Coordinator Grants
City grants are available to neighbourhoods that have community gardens that are established under the City’s Community Garden Policy, where food production is the primary focus. The grants are intended to provide funding for a person to coordinate volunteers.

Chicken Friendly Bylaw
We have an Animal Control Bylaw that permits an unspecified number of chickens, with few restrictions, making it one of the most permissive in North America. 

Pesticide Reduction
City bylaws are in place to reduce the use of pesticides on residential and public property. Learn how you can prevent garden pests without pesticides.

Small Steps Edible Garden at City Hall
The Small Steps Edible Garden has been created in partnership with Our Place Society, whose staff, family members and volunteers maintain and harvest vegetables for its lunch program. The garden is located in Centennial Square. 

Kitchen Garden Project
The City partnered with the Fernwood Community Center to transform 1,800 square feet of decorative garden beds into edible food gardens that are now managed by the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group. The gardens are used to educate, inspire and supplement some of the 700 snacks and meals the centre provides every week to program participants.