OTTAWA -- Ottawa's Just Food is ready to start planting the community gardens this spring.

The non-profit organization is celebrating the Ontario Government’s decision to declare community gardens an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Progressive Conservative government said the community gardens are an “essential source of fresh food for some individuals and families.”

Local medical officers of health will provide advice, recommendations and instructions that the gardens must meet in order to operate.

Just Food executive director Moe Garahan says they are “thankful” the Ontario Government has declared the community gardens essential.

 “In our community, we have about 100 gardens that are community gardens,” Garahan tells The Goods with Dahlia Kurtz on Newstalk 580 CFRA.

“If you estimate 1.5 people eat per plot, you’re looking at a minimum of 7,000 people in Ottawa growing food to supplement their household stores each summer.”

Garahan adds tonnes of fresh food from community gardens is donated to the Ottawa Food Bank and other organizations each summer.

Just Food is an Ottawa-based community-based non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging sustainable food and farming. 

Last week, both Ottawa's Board of Health and City Council passed motions calling on the Ontario Government to allow the community gardens to open during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Garahan says the Ontario Government declaring the community gardens an essential service has helped raise the profiles of community gardens.

Garahan is hopeful the National Capital Commission and the City of Ottawa will look to see if other land can be set aside for community gardens to help the community this year.