Community Gardens

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In partnership with the YWCA's Nourish Project, the City of Peterborough offers allotment gardening on municipal land throughout the City.

What is a community garden?

Community gardens offer individuals a small plot of land to grow fresh, healthy produce, herbs, flowers, or  fruit trees, depending on the location. There are over 40 community gardens in Peterborough City and County, with seven located on on municipal parkland. These locations include:

View a map of additional garden locations supported by the Nourish Project in Peterborough City and County.

Read up on Policy 0023 - Community Gardens

Garden guidelines

Community gardens operate with a team of volunteers, which includes the individual gardeners and a coordinating team. Everyone who participates in community gardens on municipal property has to follow these guidelines to ensure success:

Gardener responsibilities

Many individuals in the community wish to participate in community gardens. Those who hold plots must maintain them throughout the season in order to return the following year. Gardeners are expected to:

  • Respond to communications from their coordinating team and inform the coordinating team of their intent to remain in the garden each year by April 1.
  • Prepare their plots for the planting season throughout the month of May, and have their garden planted by the middle of June.
  • Maintain their plot throughout the season, including planting, pruning, weeding, watering, and general maintenance.
  • Use the water that is made available in a responsible, eco-friendly manner.
  • Have a plan in place for taking holidays. Tell the coordinating team and assign a caretaker.
  • Contribute to and support communal elements of the community garden, such as pathway weeding and property maintenance.
  • Clean their plot, removing all dead plants, annuals, and weeds by the end of the gardening season.
  • Stay out of other gardener’s plots, unless given express permission to enter.
  • Do not pick produce from anyone’s plots but their own.
  • Use any shared tools or equipment with care.
  • Report any issues within the garden to the coordinating team.
  • Ensure only items actively used for gardening is kept within their plot. The City of Peterborough has the authority to remove any items without notice from community gardens at any time.
  • Follow all municipal by-laws, including keeping animals always leashed, not smoking, or vaping on municipal property, not planting marijuana, invasive, or illegal species, and not using pesticides.
Coordinating team responsibilities

In addition to agreeing to individual gardener responsibilities, members of the coordinating team share the following responsibilities:

  • Welcome and provide orientation to new members.
  • Facilitate the annual signing of the Plot Holder Agreement and provide completed copies to the Operator for their records.
  • Collect annual fees from gardeners and release an end of season report of how the funds were used.
  • Facilitate an annual meeting and provide the Operator a copy of the agenda, and minutes.
  • Inform the Operator of all planned meetings, share an agenda, and minutes.
  • Maintain an up-to-date gardener contact list and provide this information to the Operator.
  • Maintain a relocation request list, if necessary. Provide this information to the Operator if requested.
  • Provide the Operator’s waiting list contact information to interested gardeners.
  • Arrange for compost, garden green waste collection, and wood chips as required.
  • Communicate with gardeners regarding garden-specific information as needed.
  • Contact the Operator if plots appear abandoned as defined in the Plot Holder Agreement.
Liability waiver

The Plot Holder voluntarily assumes any risk of injury, damage or legal action and releases and forever discharges the Operator and The Corporation of the City of Peterborough and their officers, councillors, employees, agents and representatives from and against all liability, actions, claims, losses, costs, and damages which may be brought against the Operator and the City and which the Operator or the City may incur, sustain or pay arising out of or in connection with the Plot Holder’s use of and the Operator’s and/or the City’s provision of or termination of land for Community Gardens and the City’s provision of services, materials or facilities associated with community gardening.

The Plot Holder releases and forever discharges the Operator and the City from any claim or demand whatsoever in respect of injury, death, loss or damage to property caused by or arising from the Plot Holder’s use of the Community Garden. The Plot Holder also agrees to hold and save harmless the Operator and the City from any and all causes of action brought by third parties, including other Plot Holders, against the Operator and the City arising out of the Operator’s or the City’s provision of services, materials or facilities associated with the Community Gardens.

The relationship between the Plot Holder and the Operator is solely that of licensor and licensee. The Plot Holder is a licensee being granted a license for the non-fulltime use and occupation of city-owned land subject to the terms and conditions of this agreement. The Plot Holder, in consideration of being granted permission to use and occupy a Plot within the Community Garden, for the purpose of engaging only in permitted forms of community gardening, forever releases and waives any argument or claim the Plot Holder may have or may wish to make that a relationship of Landlord and Tenant exists between the Plot Holder and the Operator or between the Plot Holder and the City.

The Plot Holder acknowledges and agrees that nothing contained herein, and no action taken by the City, the Operator or the Plot Holder shall confer on or vest in the Plot Holder any title or interest of any kind including an ownership interest, or estate in City-owned lands and the Plot Holder specifically releases and waives any argument or claim the Plot Holder may have or may wish to make that the Plot Holder has any interest of any kind including any ownership interest, or estate in the City-owned land being used as a Community Garden.

Join an active garden

If you would like to join the waitlist to access a plot in a community garden, please contact Nourish:

Start a new garden

Community gardens require volunteer support and donations. Land may be provided by the municipality or a private owner. However, all items such as garden sheds, hoses, wood for boxes, etc. is supplied by the gardeners or donated. If you would like to start a new garden, you will need to gather the following information, and complete an application by clicking on the link below:

  • A list of group members and contact information for those interested in joining the potential garden location
  • A specific site location
  • A plan for the produce that is grown. For example, will you use what is grown? Donate a portion?

New garden requests on municipal land 

Requests are due by February 17 annually for gardens to begin that season.

If a community group would like to start a new community garden on municipal land, the application will be reviewed by Nourish staff, and shared with the City of Peterborough. Departments including Planning, Engineering, Legal, Building, Transportation, Risk Management, Public Works, and Community Services will review the application and consider if the location is viable. Some examples include if the site has heritage value, the impact on public works operations such as snow removal, and site safety is taken into consideration.

Once City staff have reviewed the location, a report is presented to the Arena Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee recommending to accept or deny the application based on the findings of the City departments.