Greenhouses used by the City’s Parks and Recreation department are being eyed for food production. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria councillors want city greenhouses used for food production during COVID-19

Couns. Ben Isitt and Jeremy Loveday are proposing new food security strategies

Victoria city councillors are exploring using city-owned nurseries and greenhouses to grow food for the public.

In a motion coming to committee of the whole on Thursday, Couns. Ben Isitt and Jeremy Loveday are asking the city to redistribute some of its Park and Recreation resources to grow food, and to work with partnering societies and communities to distribute the seedlings to the community.

“We’d like to see focus of the parks department shift towards starting vegetable plants in the municipal nurseries and greenhouses in order to support residents who want to grow food and become more food secure,” Isitt said. “We’ve heard a huge amount of support from the general public wanting to start a garden.”

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Presently the greenhouses are primarily used to grow native plants which are later transplanted throughout the city.

Isitt said that the last time he was aware of the City stepping in to help with food production was in the Second World War, and that the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a good time to also get involved.

Isitt has already been in early discussions with groups such as the Urban Food Table and local farmers and stakeholders to see how it would be possible to distribute seedlings to allow people to grow food in their gardens and on their balconies.

One spot that might be worth considering, he added, are the greenhouses in Beacon Hill Park along Cook Street.

The motion will be discussed on Thursday, and can be watched through a webcast at victoria.ca.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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