Guelph community garden plots in high demand amid pandemic

With Guelph’s snow melted away, local gardeners are thinking about spring planting. But gardeners hoping to do that planting in a community garden plot may be out of luck if they haven’t already registered.

“So many people are doing more gardening in the last year,” said Heather Lekx, farm manager at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre.

The centre's farm rents community plots of various sizes to gardeners, many of whom don’t have enough yard space at home for the garden they want. Lekx said the farm’s 180 or so community plots typically sell out by May, just before the season gets underway. But the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have created an increased demand for plots.

“Last year, with the lockdown, the sales of the plots just started racing,” Lekx said. Plots were sold out a month earlier than usual, and with a total of 220 registrations, there was a waiting list, she said. This year, by mid-January, the farm had already sold the number of plots it would have had available pre-pandemic, she said.

Luckily, the farm was recently granted $20,000 in the Guelph-Wellington Urban Agriculture Challenge — money that will be used to get water to underutilized fields, allowing the farm to expand its leasing capacity.

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