The City of Victoria is planting 50,000 to 75,000 food seedlings in its greenhouses to help those looking for more food security.
“Some park staff will be repurposed to work with partners on the Urban Food Table,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said earlier this month, referring to a local food distribution network. “We’ll plant between 50-75,000 food plants in the nursery and distribute them through community partnerships.”
“Parks staff will produce 80 per cent of the number of hanging baskets — because of course, we know beauty is important through this period of time as well — and the 20 per cent of the time that would have gone into hanging baskets will go towards supporting food security,” she said.
Councillor Ben 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.
“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.”
Helps added there would be no new staff hired to carry out the work or any other budgetary impacts. The food will be distributed to organizations and people throughout the city, although the details of who and how are still being worked out.