What is a community garden, and how do they work?

    Community gardens are a shared space to grow food. They encourage active, healthy living and help green the City.

    Mississauga’s public community garden program is run by Ecosource. Community gardens consist of member plots where residents can sign up for an individual plot to grow their food, and community plots where volunteers grow food for local food banks or to be used in community programs. 

    How many City-supported community gardens are there?

    There are nine public community gardens in Mississauga parks, which are managed by Ecosource. 

    Who operates and maintains the community gardens?

    The City works with Ecosource to manage, operate and maintain the community gardens. Ecosource is an innovative environmental organization specializing in fun, hands-on programs that focus on changing daily habits to become better environmental citizens. Since 2006, Ecosource has been managing and operating the community garden program in Mississauga. 

    Garden members share the responsibility for the day-to-day care of the space by maintaining their garden plots and other communal garden features, such as plots where food is being grown for local food banks. Training and support are provided to garden members through a variety of Ecosource programs. 

    How can I participate in the City-supported community garden program?

    If you are interested in a plot to grow your own food, you can sign up to become a member gardener. Given the high demand for plots when a new garden opens, Ecosource uses a lottery system to assign plots to residents. Ecosource asks new members to contribute a $50 annual fee toward the operation of the garden. This is not a requirement of registration and subsidies are available. All other interested residents will have their name added to the waitlist for the garden and will be contacted when space becomes available.

    You can also sign up for a community plot that is shared among members of a community or corporate group. The food grown in these plots can be donated to local food banks or used in a community program.

    To sign up to become a member gardener or participate in a community plot, email communitygardens@ecosource.ca or call 905-274-6222 ext. 303. 

    If you are looking for other ways to get involved in gardening, Ecosource offers a variety of volunteer opportunities to engage residents in the garden. These volunteer opportunities will be shared after the garden is open. To stay up to date on volunteer opportunities, sign up for Ecosource’s newsletter. 

    Will the garden attract wildlife to the park?

    Gardeners want to enjoy their products so they work hard to maintain a tidy environment. This includes harvesting food and collecting organic waste regularly. In addition, community gardens play an important role in promoting biodiversity in parks by providing habitat for a variety of birds and pollinators like butterflies.

    Are the gardens following any COVID-19 safety protocols?

    Yes. In April 2020, the Province of Ontario declared community gardens an essential service. In response, the City of Mississauga and Ecosource worked with Peel Public Health to develop health and safety protocols for the community gardens during the pandemic. All gardeners are trained on these protocols and required to sign a Gardening During COVID-19 Agreement to participate in the program. These protocols are updated based on guidance from Peel Public Health and shared with all gardeners registering for the 2021 program if COVID-19 restrictions still apply. 

    What can be grown in community gardens?

    The primary purpose of community gardens is to grow food using organic methods. Ecosource offers educational programs to help gardeners develop skills in organic gardening, including crop planning, seed saving and more.

    Can I donate the food I grow in my plot to a food bank or another charity?

    Yes, community gardens play a role in increasing access to fresh food in the city. Donations to food banks and other charities are encouraged. To facilitate this, Ecosource provides a list of organizations accepting donations to registered garden members and volunteers as well as regular drop-offs of fresh produce to local food banks. 

    Can I access community gardens any time of day?

    Existing community gardens are open during park opening hours—dawn to 11 p.m. daily from May 1 to October 31. Access is generally restricted to registered garden members and community groups who agree to follow protocols for the safe and conscientious use of the space.

    Will I be able to take public transit to the Cooksville Park community garden?

    Yes, there are transit stops within walking distance to the community garden. Please visit Triplinx to plan your trip and locate nearby transit stops. 

    What is the difference between member plots and community plots?

    Member plots are plots where food produced is for individual use, i.e. for yourself, your family or to be shared amongst friends.

    Community plots are plots that are shared amongst a community group, corporate group or other organization, e.g. employees of a company or a local church group. Food produced may be donated to local food banks or used in a community program. 

    Each garden is unique in terms of the allocation of member plots and community plots. The allocation is informed by the needs and interests of the community and evolves overtime as needed. 

    How many plots will be available at the Cooksville Park community garden?

    Design work is underway for the proposed garden. The number of plots will be confirmed once the design has been finalized.