Gardening promotes health, well-being, social interaction and environmental education. It helps create healthy and diverse ecosystems while building community and our food security.
The City supports urban food production on public and private land in a variety of ways.
Growing in the City
Programs and Grants
Develop your green thumb with Growing in the City programs available through the City’s Recreation department. Learn how to grow your own food, compost, invite pollinators into your garden and care for fruit trees.
The City has a variety of grants that support community-led urban agriculture. This includes:
- Community gardening
- Boulevard gardening
- Food tree stewardship
- Seedling and soil-building materials distribution
Urban Food Tree Stewardship Pilot Program
Residents can apply to plant and maintain up to five fruit and nut trees in a local green space. The City will work with community organizations to find suitable locations. Stewards must plant trees from October to November.
Boulevard gardening transforms grass boulevards into beautiful and healthy gardens and comes with several ecological benefits. The City seeks to help gardeners transform City boulevards responsibly.
If you’re considering a boulevard garden, please review the Boulevard Gardening Guidelines [PDF/297KB]
The following information should also be considered:
- Call before you dig: Call BC One Call at 1.800.474.6886 to see if there are any utility lines under the boulevard.
- To see if there are sewer, stormwater or water lines in your area, contact the Parks Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250.361.0600 with your full name, address and telephone number. This must be done a minimum of 10 days prior to commencing any gardening activities.
- Dig with care: Use hand tools only and follow the directions from utility companies.
Growing Food at Home
The City has a guide to support urban gardening in mixed-use developments. The guide aims to increase awareness about existing good practices and opportunities to innovate. Find resources in the guide to support urban gardening in mixed-use developments.
Building design and management opportunities covered in this guide include:
- using common outdoor spaces such as rooftops and courtyards for community gardens and urban farms.
- incorporating edible landscaping and pollinator gardening into landscaped areas.
- offering educational activities and resources for home or community gardening.
- making vacant lots or underutilized spaces available for temporary community gardens or urban farms.
- integrating place-making and community gathering features complementary to urban gardening and food production.
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 [PDF/611KB] 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. Beehives, 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.
Resources for Urban Gardening
- The Compost Education Centre provides education on composting and waste diversion. They offer a variety of workshops on composting, organic gardening and soil science.
- The Capital Region Beekeepers’ Association offers resources for new and experienced beekeepers.
- The LifeCycles Project Society helps people to grow their own fresh food.
- Haliburton Farm is an incubator farm in Saanich. They provide educational opportunities related to small-scale organic farming.
- The Horticulture Centre of the Pacific offers gardening workshops and access to demonstration gardens.
- Pollinators are a key component of a sustainable, resilient and biodiverse urban environment. Learn more about pollinators in our Pollinator and Allergy-Aware Gardening Guide [PDF/1.9MB].
- Bees Please runs a beehive hosting and backyard chicken rental service with educational support.