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Seeds & Soil Giveaway: Growing Urban Gardens Amid COVID-19

This summer, we partnered with Just Food and the City of Ottawa Human Task Force to bring Ottawa residents closer to growing their own food. We all know how uncertain and stressful the year 2020 has been given the Coronavirus pandemic worldwide, and gardening has proven to be an effective antidote to stress. Growing your own food comes as a solution to many of the issues caused by isolation in these past few months. Urban agriculture comes as physical activity and a means of accessing affordable fresh fruits and vegetables as well as being capable of improving health and wellbeing in communities.

Social Harvest Ottawa’s efforts were focused on helping distribute seeds and soil to interested Ottawa residents to promote home gardening as a form of additional household food security. The materials were funded by the City of Ottawa Human Needs Task Force and JustFood. Growing kits were composed of three bins of topsoil, assorted seeds, growing resource documentation, and two tomato seedlings per family donated by Greta Organic Gardens.

Participant holding gardening kit items

SHO held two events, the first, exclusive to residents of Ward 13, on July 9, 2020, and the second open to all residents of Ottawa on July 21, 2020 - both events were run at the back of the Rideau Community Hub. Altogether, the events provided 55 families with the tools they needed to grow their own vegetables at home.

Social Harvest Ottawa hoped to bring peace of mind to our residents with an alternative activity shared with family members or used for some quiet time. The initiative was also a means to encourage a balanced diet with fresh produce from the home garden to the table. But we are not the only ones to enjoy the benefits; gardening at home also helps us mitigate environmental problems by reducing carbon footprint and soil erosion. Not to mention all the beneficial insects and birds we get to see.

Some of the participants while collecting their gardening kits

A shout out to the participants who tagged us on Facebook to share how their urban gardens looked.

Seeds planted on the day and a week later on a balcony by participant

A big thank you to all the RRCRC staff who have been incredibly supportive in making this and many other events happen.

RRCRC staff members during event

Urban agriculture has always been around and could not be a more current topic of conversation, either. Let's bring cultivation back to our daily lives and not only reap delicious produce but all the extra benefits it brings along. No matter the kind of garden you have – it does wonders for a person's body and mind. It is never too late to start - subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about how you, too, can get growing!

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