After calls on the provincial government to allow community gardens to operate, Ontario has announced these spaces are essential services during the pandemic.
According to a news release from Saturday, the provincial government says these gardens are an essential source of fresh food for some individuals and families, including those who face food insecurity.
"We're very pleased to hear this announcement come from the province." said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.
"It was something that we were advocating for with local MPPs and I know certain groups, like the Food Bank of Waterloo and many others, were arguing for this from a food security viewpoint. We really see this as a positive move by the provincial government in these challenging times."
Now that they have been deemed essential, Vrbanovic says the next steps now before opening the community gardens is to consult with the Waterloo Regional Medical Officer of Health on how to ensure social distancing and how to disinfect shared equipment.
"We've seen more and more people accessing community gardens over the past number of years... so we know that there is a big demand. Partially because it's an inexpensive way for growing vegetables for your family, whether for having local produce or from a food security standpoint." said Vrbanovic.
"I'm hoping that ideally, by the end of this coming week, that we will be in a position to start operating."