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Join the (Garden) Sharing Economy

Join the (Garden) Sharing Economy

Whether it’s trading bottles of wine for baby supplies on Kijiji or booking an Airbnb, we’re increasingly comfortable with stepping into other people’s cars and houses. The sharing economy has become a part of our lives.

These days there are apps for everything from playing with someone else’s dog to sailing on someone else’s boat. There’s even one for using other people’s toilets!

So it should probably come as no surprise that several organizations have come up with the bright idea of encouraging people to grow food in other people’s unused gardens.

It’s called Garden Sharing, and unlike the Silicon Valley-created services mentioned above, it has nothing to do with making money: the idea is to build a sense of community, give people access to green space and create a supply of healthy, local and organic fruits and vegetables.

How Does it Work?

Several community organizations in the GTA facilitate garden sharing (read on for more information), and each has slightly different requirements. It’s also possible to set up a garden-share arrangement with friends, neighbours and even complete strangers via Kijiji or Craigslist.

But no matter how you choose to go about finding a partner, garden sharing almost always starts with an agreement between the owner and the person or people who want to plant a garden. This will cover things like when the gardening will be done, what will be planted, who will do the watering and, perhaps most importantly, how the food that’s grown will be divided.

What are the Advantages?

If you’re interested in gardening or growing your own food but don’t have a space to do it, garden sharing can be a more effective way to get started than finding a plot at a community garden (we love them, but they sometimes have long wait times due to space constraints). It might also be closer to your house or place of work.

If you’re a property owner with land you’re not using, or perhaps land you can’t use because of your schedule, or lack gardening confidence or have health issues, then garden sharing can be a great way to make the most of your space. You’ll learn about gardening, and might be able to put your knowledge to use in years to come. On top of that, you’ll get a steady stream of fresh, organic and VERY local produce—all without getting your hands dirty.

Photo by CultivateTO

Photo by CultivateTO

How Can I Get Started?

YardshareTO is a city-wide directory for landowners seeking gardeners and gardeners seeking land. It has an easy-to-use map interface and resources for those getting started. They’re also seeking volunteers to help people start their own gardens.

CultivateTO, primarily based in East York, is looking for large (500 sq feet and bigger) backyards to be converted into productive vegetable gardens by a team of volunteers.

Garden Sharing Toronto facilitates garden share arrangements in Parkdale, Wychwood, Symington-Davenport and Taylor-Massey.

Now you have everything you need to give garden sharing a go. It will be even more satisfying than using someone else’s washroom, we promise!


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