The City of Brampton’s Backyard Garden Program donated more than 10,000 lbs of produce to residents in need from April to October 2020.
The program, chaired by City Councillor Doug Whillans, Wards 2 and 6, and facilitated by the City’s Parks Maintenance and Forestry division, launched on April 15 was the first of its kind in Canada in response to COVID-19.
An extension of the existing Community Gardens program, it provided food resources for the Mayor’s COVID-19 Social Support Task Force, which facilitates necessary social supports for Brampton’s vulnerable communities.
Open to all Brampton residents, the program supplied residents with soil, packages of seeds, and growing advice for their new gardens. From April to October, residents grew their own backyard gardens, with some keeping their harvest and others donating to local food banks and community organizations, including the Knights Table, Regeneration, Khalsa Aid, and United Sikhs.
In addition to supporting residents in need with fresh produce, this eco-friendly initiative encouraged residents to stay active during COVID-19, and supported Bramptonians’ mental health by providing an at-home activity. It was also an opportunity for first-time gardeners to learn about gardening and try a new hobby, city officials said.
“We saw an incredible response to the Backyard Garden Program and Councillor Whillans’s leadership, and we’re proud to have championed this initiative in Brampton as the first of its kind in Canada, inspiring cities near and far. The COVID-19 Social Support Task Force provided the necessary food supports to vulnerable Brampton residents through Knights Table and Regen during a difficult time, and everyone who grew and donated produce alleviated pressure on our food banks, supported our environment, and made us all proud,” said Mayor Patrick Brown.
“Our first-ever Backyard Garden Program was a huge success in Brampton. We brought seeds and soil to thousands of residents, which provided more than 10,000 pounds of produce to residents in need. I’d like to thank every single resident and business that was a part of the game-changing initiative that encouraged everyone to get into gardening, enjoy the outdoors, and give back to our community this year,” added Councillor Whillans.
The City of Brampton thanked its supporters Scotts, Mattamy Homes, Paradise Developments, TACC Holborn Corporation, and Fieldgate Developments for making this program possible.