Growing in the City
The City supports urban food production on public and private land.
Urban gardening and food production contribute positively to health and well-being, social interaction, connection to nature, and environmental education. They help create healthy and diverse ecosystems while building community and our food security.
NEW! Growing in the City Programs
Develop your green thumb with our all new Growing in the City programs. Learn how to grow your own food, compost like an expert, grow in small spaces, invite pollinators into your yard, care for fruit trees and much more. Learn more and register at victoria.ca/recreation.
Get Growing, Victoria!
There is renewed interest in community resilience, food security and learning how to grow food at home. Get Growing, Victoria! provides food seedlings and garden materials to underserved communities, including those disproportionally impacted by the ongoing pandemic. The seedlings are grown in the City’s nursery in Beacon Hill Park and distributed in partnership with community organizations. Learn more here.
Growing in the City Grants
Learn more about the various City grants that support community-led urban agriculture programs and activities, including community gardening, boulevard gardening, food tree stewardship and the City’s seedling and garden material distribution program, Get Growing, Victoria!
Growing Food and Gardening in Mixed-Use, Multi-Unit Residential Developments
To encourage urban gardening and food production in mixed-used, multi-unit residential developments, a guide has been developed to offer resources and examples to support the successful and durable incorporation of urban gardening and food production in new and existing developments. The guide also aims to increase awareness about existing good practices and opportunities to innovate. Learn more here.
Boulevard Gardening Guidelines are designed to help beginners and experts garden on City boulevards more confidently and responsibly. Learn how you can transform the boulevard beside your property into a beautiful and healthy garden. Learn more here.
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. Learn more here.
Urban Food Tree Stewardship Pilot Program
Residents, through a community organization, can apply to plant and maintain up to five fruit and nut trees in a local green space. The City will work with the organization to find suitable locations. Trees must be planted from October to November. Read more about the program and apply to become a Food Tree Steward here.
Rooftop greenhouses can enable year-round local food production in dense urban environments. If you want to build a greenhouse on a rooftop, the Building a Rooftop Greenhouse Fact Sheet will help you get started.
Keeping Bees and Hens
The Animal Control Bylaw permits an unspecified number of bee hives and up to 15 female chickens or other poultry. Bee hives, coops and pens of all sizes must be set back from the property line. Check the Zoning Regulation Bylaw to see required setbacks for your zone, at victoria.ca/zoning. For information on good hen-keeping practices, see the Basic Chicken CareCare manual made available by the City of Vancouver.
Growing Food to Sell
You can grow and sell edible and non-edible products including unprocessed fruits and vegetables, flowers, herbs, fibre, seeds, nuts, seedlings, mushrooms, plant cuttings, eggs and honey. Apply for a business licence to sell products off-site (e.g. in retail stores or restaurants) as well as on-site (e.g. at food stands). Learn more and get started here.
Resources for Urban Gardening
- The Compost Education Centre offers information on building small greenhouses, soil testing and rainwater harvesting as well as workshops on compost management, organic gardening and soil science.
- The Capital Region Beekeepers’ Association offers online and in-person resources for new and experienced beekeepers.
- The LifeCycles Project Society helps people to grow their own food and have better access to fresh local foods.
- Haliburton Farm is an incubator farm in Saanich that provides educational opportunities related to small-scale organic farming.
- The Horticulture Centre of the Pacific offers gardening workshops and access to demonstration gardens.
- To minimize pesticide use, find tips on the City's website to prevent garden pests and encourage beneficial insects.
- The Guide for Planting, Growing and Harvesting Fresh Produce to Reduce Health Risks, made available by the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health, provides resources to prevent produce and soil contamination.
- Public markets provide artisans and local growers the opportunity to promote and sell produce and handcrafted goods in a vibrant atmosphere.
- Pollinators are a key component of a sustainable, resilient and biodiverse urban environment. Learn more about pollinators and how you can help pollinators here.
Please view this video of our food systems lunch and learn virtual event to learn more about how you can start growing in the city.