Modern life is certainly busy and can affect our physical and mental health. At any point in time, gardeners might have to take time away from gardening to deal with unexpected illnesses or life situations. To support our gardeners through these difficult moments, Urban Bounty has created a ‘cover crops relief pilot program’ that will help gardeners comply with our Rules and Agreement. This program allows gardeners to maintain their place in the community gardens while taking time off to heal or attend to their families or work obligations. 

Initiative proposal

Depending on the time of the year, Urban Bounty will assist gardeners in need to sow a portion of their plots with a mix of cover crops. Keeping the plots under a cover crop will prevent weeds from taking over, it will nurture and protect the soil from erosion, and it will serve as a flower source for pollinators. In the end, maintaining the plot will be less labour-intensive for the gardener.  Depending on the case and time of the year, the remaining portion of the plot can be used by the gardeners to plant summer crops, or gardeners may wish to keep the entire plot under cover crop temporarily. Whenever the gardener is ready to resume gardening, the cover crops can be incorporated into the soil as green manure. 

Length of the program

Urban Bounty will look at every case individually. To qualify for this program, gardeners must notify Urban Agriculture staff about any unexpected changes in health or family life immediately. To ensure community plots remain planted and are being actively used, this program will only provide support for a maximum of three consecutive garden reviews (one year) from the day the gardener’s notice has been received. Gardeners will be encouraged to make a $5.00 donation for the cost of seeds and staff hours.

Gardeners responsibilities

Gardeners in good standing can apply to this program. Once the program begins, gardeners are responsible to contact Urban Bounty to inform them of any changes in their status. After three reviews passed, and if the situation that prevents them from gardening has not been resolved, Urban Bounty will ask the gardener to forfeit their plot. Their name will be placed on a waitlist.