COVID-19: Guidelines for Chatham-Kent Community Gardens

The COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly, and this guidance is subject to change at any time.  Community gardens play an important role in our food system and will continue to provide spaces for residents to grow their own food. Until further notice, community gardens are not a recreational space or place for social gathering.  Should guidelines change with respect to provincially mandated physical distancing guidelines, those guidelines will also apply.

The following guidelines must be adhered to at all times.

PHYSICAL DISTANCING

  • Everyone in the garden must always maintain physical distancing of 6 feet or 2 meters unless with members of the same household).  
  • All gardeners must complete the provincial COVID-19 Screening Tool prior to visiting the garden and follow the instructions provided.  If you do not pass the screening, do not come to the garden.
  • No guests are allowed in the garden at any time.
  • No gatherings of garden members, except with your household group
  • Children should only be brought into the garden on an as-needed basis and should be instructed to follow the physical distancing and hand hygiene recommendations.  Parents are to be responsible for their children at all times.
  • The number of gardeners permitted in the garden at one time will be limited to the number of individuals permitted to gather outdoors based on provincial and local mandates. Regardless of what is permitted for social gathering from local or provincial mandates, physical distance of 6 feet (or 2 metres) from gardeners outside of your household must be maintained at all times. 
  • All shared seating areas that are not permanent will be removed.  All gardeners are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair each visit, if there is a need for breaks while at the garden.

CLEANING AND DISINFECTION

Hand hygiene is an important means of preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

  • Wash hands with soap and water before and after handling common tools such as hoses or gates and before and after gardening. If there is not a sink available, bring alcohol based hand sanitizer and sanitize hands regularly. Gloves are not a substitute for washing hands.
  • Gardeners are encouraged to bring and use their own tools, if able. 
  • All gardeners should bring and wear their own gloves.  Wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer after gloves are removed. Gloves should also be washed at home after every use.

RESPONSIBLITIES

  • Gardens will be closed to the general public.  Only garden members are to access the garden spaces for maintenance and planting.
  • All gardeners must follow the guidelines from CK Public Health complete the COVID screening tool before arriving at the garden
  • Keep trips to the garden to a minimum and limit the time spent in the garden.
  • Due to the seriousness of the circumstances, access to the garden will be revoked for any garden member that is not following the guidelines set out for garden safety.  During this time, it is important that we all be as considerate and safe as possible.
  • For gardeners with allocated plots who choose not to use their plots this year as a result of concerns with COVID-19, such as those who are elderly or have compromised immune systems, gardeners can choose to have their plot temporarily reallocated by the garden coordinator for  the 2020 gardening season.  The garden could also be used as a communal growing plot for the season and food can be shared with community groups or others who may need the food.
  • Let your garden coordinator know if you need assistance in maintaining your garden plot.
  • All regular community garden policies and procedures are to be followed.

CK PUBLIC HEALTH RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Ensure proper signage is available and posted on access to gardens
  • Enforce the guidelines with support from garden coordinators.

Benefits of Community Gardens

Picture of a community garden

  • Health benefits including physical activity and stress relief
  • Access to fresh fruits and veggies
  • Hands-on learning
  • Allow you to know where your food comes from
  • A personal sense of wellbeing including stress relief, education and creation of friendships
  • Beautifying unused spaces
  • Increases property values
  • Increases feelings of safety and community pride
  • Decreased criminal activity in the area
  • Environmental benefits including improving air quality, create compost and help to filter rainwater.

What do you need to Participate?

Do you have?

  • A green thumb or wish you did?
  • Want to work in a garden but don’t have the space?
  • Need technical advice to grow your own produce?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then CK Community Gardens is for YOU!

What better way to get high quality vegetables and fruit than to grow them yourself!

Garden Child with a basket of fresh vegetables

Who Can Garden?

  • Any age
  • Youth who need volunteer hours
  • Seniors– a great social opportunity
  • Families or singles
  • ANYONE!

Current Locations

Chatham

  • Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC)
  • Union Gas, Head Office
  • Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit
  • Chatham-Kent Public Utility Commission – Grand Ave
  • Campbell Park
  • Moore Park
  • Victoria Ave

Wallaceburg

  • First Baptist Church
  • Salvation Army
  • West Court Housing

Dresden

  • North Baptist Church

Blenheim

  • Glad Tidings Community Church

What is needed for a community garden to operate?

  • Experienced gardeners who will share their knowledge
  • Land and water access
  • Garden equipment / tools
  • Garden plants, seeds and cuttings
  • Volunteers who will assist in coordinating, assisting other gardeners, helping with transportation and canvassing for resources.

For more information or to sign up for a garden plot, please contact Derwyn Armstrong at 519-358-2659 or by email at

How can I start a new Community Garden?

If you are interested in starting a new garden, please review the below links and follow the procedure outlined in the Manual for Development of Community Gardens.  If you need more information on how to to do, please contact Lyndsay Davidson at or by phone at 519-352-7270 ext 2478

Manual for Development of New Gardens

Checklist

Application for a new garden Form #1

Site Usage Survey Form #2

Letter of Committment Form #3A

Liability Waiver Form #3B

Code of Conduct Form #3C