Recognizing the important role of fresh food in a nutritious diet, Food Banks Canada supports initiatives that provide food banks with more foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and dairy products.

Food Banks Canada has worked with food producers to arrange large-scale donations of fresh and frozen food, and created the Gardens and Growing Program to support gardening initiatives at food banks. We’re hoping to expand our partnerships with farmers, food producers, and others to support food banks as they expand the diversity of the food they offer to recipients.

Program is generously supported by: 


Community Gardens help in so many ways. They offer a valuable source of fresh foods to program participants and to local food and meal programs. And, by teaching participants how to grow their own food as well as how to prepare and preserve the harvest, they also provide new skills and can help to instill self-confidence.

The Community Gardens Program gives food bank recipients greater access to fresh foods and food-growing skills by funding community garden and greenhouse programs within the food bank network.

Program is generously supported by: 


From the tiniest of seeds, the strongest and most beautiful plants can grow.

Providing fresh produce is an important component of community garden programs, but their true value goes far beyond that.

In the words of Sara, a mother of two who is a food bank recipient and community garden enthusiast:

"Everyone in my family benefits when I learn to grow vegetables and cook good food. At first, I was hesitant, and just not sure what I was doing. But now I just dig right in! I guess I must look like a real garden expert because other families ask for MY help! What a boost of confidence! And every time I learn a new recipe in the class, I go home and make it at least 3 times for my family. I teach my sister and nieces how to make it for their families."

June Muir, CEO of the Unemployed Help Centre of Windsor, Ontario, says:

"The beautiful thing about a garden is that it brings families together and breaks down social isolation. In our gardens, you'll see people of every generation and many different cultures. People come together to plant what they like to eat while learning great gardening skills."

She adds that some participants even take the new skills they have learned and the confidence that brings, and meet with one of her organization’s employment counsellors to secure a job.

This toolkit was developed by Food Banks Canada to support you in starting a Community Garden at your food bank. We will take you through the steps to consider if you are thinking of starting a garden at your food bank, and provide you with the information you need to successfully plan, plant and harvest a community garden!

Download the toolkit now

Thank you to Compass Group Canada for supporting the development of this toolkit, and for being a founding supporter of Food Banks Canada’s Community Garden Fund.


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of food distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh (eg. milk, eggs, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, bread)