Growing in the City

Growing in the City is all about enhancing our local, urban food systems.

It’s about connecting more people with space to grow more food on public and private land, and encouraging small-scale urban food production.



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. Click here to 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. Click here to read more, to find a community garden near you, or to learn about starting your own.

Commercial Urban Food Production On February 25, 2016, Council approved a review of City bylaws to better support small-scale commercial urban food production. View the February 25 staff report (item 7) and Council discussion.

This summer, the proposed bylaw changes will be be presented to Council and will be shared here.

The review of City bylaws will look at:

  • Including urban food production in the zoning bylaw
  • Allowing urban food production as a permitted use in all land use zones
  • Allowing small farm stands in all land use zones
  • Exempting rooftop greenhouses from height calculations and floor space ratio calculations
  • Exempting urban food production activities from requiring a development permit for landscaping

Urban Food Tree Stewardship Pilot Program
The City is developing a program where residents, through a community organization, can 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. More information will be posted here in the coming months.

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. 

Other Ways We’re Getting Growing

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. 

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.