Rethink Food - grow your own

Local Food

Rethink Food for a greener and healthier Toronto.

Good for our health, the environment, and our economy, locally grown food is enjoying a resurgence. As food gardens take root in more backyards, communities, parks, and schoolyards, local food is also being featured in more recipes, restaurants, markets and stores.

Want to enjoy local food more often? Check out these tips for growing, preserving, buying and cooking it all year round.


Indoor Gardening

It’s easy to create an indoor garden. Long, narrow window boxes, which fit perfectly on a windowsill, are ideal for a herb garden filled with basil, oregano and parsley or mixed salad greens.

Other foods that you can grow indoors include snow peas, beans, carrots, beets and corn. For best results, pick a location that gets lots of light, and keep the soil moist.

Balcony Gardening

A balcony with adequate sunlight is ideal for growing tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, eggplants, peas, cucumbers and more – even edible flowers. It’s a good idea to elevate your containers a bit so that your plants get enough light.

For more information, tips and resources on balcony gardening, visit Toronto Balconies in Bloom.

Outdoor Gardening

In addition to traditional backyard gardens, there are lots of other ways to grow your own food at home.

Small gardens are ideal for:

  • low-growing herbs (e.g. thyme, oregano)
  • vegetables that don’t take up a lot of room (e.g. carrots, radishes)
  • vegetables that grow vertically (e.g. corn, beans)


  • climbing vegetables, such as beans and cucumbers, will grow up the sunny side of your house, fence, trellis, apartment building, or garage with just a few strings for support


  • Leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and lettuce can be harvested continually throughout the winter in a greenhouse. For best results, a greenhouse should be well-ventilated, oriented to maximize sunlight, and insulated to hold the heat.
  • An apartment or townhouse with its own deck or rooftop could support a smaller cold frame model.
  • If space is not an issue, consider a larger, freestanding or attached greenhouse. In addition to being easy to access, an attached greenhouse can help to heat your home by transferring captured solar energy through the shared wall. It can also provide an extension of your indoor living space.

Community Gardens

Learn more about the Community Gardens located within our parks system and on other City-owned lands.

Allotment Gardens

Individuals can lease plots at the City’s 12 allotment gardens – 11 outdoor and one indoor. For information on rates and availability, call 416-392-8188 or visit your local permit office.

Water Efficient Landscaping

You don’t require a lot of water to build a healthy, vibrant green space. Follow these lawn and garden care practices to save water, promote growth, and control weeds.

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