VICTORIA -- Victoria councillors Jeremy Loveday and Ben Isitt have put forth a motion in principle to continue the city’s “Get Growing Victoria” urban food program on an annual basis.

The program was approved at the beginning of April when city council agreed to use the city’s greenhouses to grow food for those affected by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the spring, the program partnered with 42 community organizations to distribute 81,000 plant starts for those who would not have the opportunity to start a garden without assistance.

City staff say that the parks department has been able to take on the project without additional funding, while also maintaining its regular work.

It was the first time since the Second World War that the city had taken on such a project.

Before the city votes on continuing the project, council will ask staff to report back on the results of this year's project and the implications of continuing the program annually. 

Councillors will also ask to hear from other stakeholders in the program.

“This was born out of out of food security concerns during the pandemic, but I think we should care about food security all the time, not just during a pandemic,” said Coun. Loveday.

“For me, continuing this program is one way we can build back better from COVID-19,” he said.

The motion is expected to come before the committee of the whole on Thursday.