Hello again Community Garden Network and allies,
We at Loving Spoonful and the Kingston Community Gardens Network believe that community gardens should be considered an essential food service, and allowed to continue operating (with clear health & safety protocols) throughout the COVID-19 crisis. In times like this, it is more important than ever to ensure that we have a robust local food system. Hundreds of individuals and families across Kingston depend on community gardens to supply themselves with healthy food, and Loving Spoonful’s partner agencies depend on donations from community gardens to provide nutritious food to the most vulnerable in our community.
Please join the advocacy efforts to get Kingston’s community gardens re-opened. Because closures have been mandated at BOTH the municipal and provincial levels, we need make to demands at both of those levels as follows:
1) The government of Ontario needs to add community gardens to the list of essential food services, and community gardens must be exempted from the recently announced closure of outdoor recreational spaces.
What you can do:
a) Sign the Open Letter from Sustain Ontario
b) Email, call or tweet MPP Ian Arthur
- Email: IArthur-CO@ndp.on.ca
- Phone: 613-547-2385
- Twitter: @IanArthurMPP
Below is a template letter (“Community Gardens letter – Provincial”) that you can adapt and use. When adapting the letter, please include personal anecdotes about why community gardening is important to you and your family/community.
2) The City of Kingston needs to remove community gardens from their list of closed recreational facilities.
What you can do:
a)Email, call or tweet Mayor Bryan Paterson
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 613-546-4291 ext. 1400
- Twitter: @MayorPaterson
b) Email, call or tweet your city councillor
- Find contact information here: https://www.cityofkingston.ca/city-hall/city-council/mayor-and-council
Attached below is a second template letter for municipal contacts (“Community Gardens letter – Municipal”). Again, please adapt to include personal stories.
Community health and safety remains the #1 priority for myself, Loving Spoonful, and the Community Gardens Network. I want to assure you that I will be working with KFL&A Public Health over the coming days to develop clear, approved guidelines for safe community gardening in Kingston.
Please feel free to forward this email to your gardeners and any other allies who will be willing to make calls or send emails! If anyone has other ideas for advocacy that you’d like to get out to the Network, I’d be happy to pass them along.
I also want to express gratitude for all the work that everyone in this network does to make Kingston a more climate-friendly and food-secure place. The current crisis is challenging in so many ways, but like all crises it is also an opportunity to identify and push for the changes that we need to build a more inclusive and fair society. We need to organize, support and care for each other, and grow more food!
Kingston Community Gardens Network Coordinator