Community Harvest

In a Nutshell

The Community Harvest Program grows and collects nutritious, local produce for clients served by Ottawa Food Bank community food programs across the national capital region. In 2015, the program distributed a total 176,553 lbs of fresh produce! Over 101,000 lbs of which we grew ourselves!

Who builds “Community” into the Community Harvest Program?

It’s generous local farmers, volunteers and funders that enable this program, for whom we are profoundly grateful. It’s also our admirable community food program (e.g. meal programs, community food banks, shelters, etc.) who provide the final linkage between the produce and our neighbours in need.

2015 Yield Summary

Collection Mode Sources Total (lbs.) % change
Donations Local Farms 53,169 +8
Gleaning Local Farms 1,953 -70
Growing Project
Black Family Farm 101,700 +38
Purchases Local Farms 19,731 +2
Total 176,553 +6

Growing FRESH Food in our City

Full 2015 Program Summary


Volunteers are at the heart of the Community Harvest program and we are infinitely grateful for their ongoing support.  Without the tireless support of 703 volunteers – ranging from individuals to corporate teams, and students to community organizations – who provided a total of 2,746 hours of manual labour in 2015, this program could never have evolved so quickly.


One of the most exciting and distinctive aspects of the Community Harvest initiative is the growing of our own crops expressly for donation.

Since the inception of the Community Harvest program in 2010, local farms have kindly provided land for the growing of “food bank crops”. From an initial pilot project involving the production of a half- acre of organic carrots at Roots and Shoots Farm, our growing program has evolved to yield a wide range of produce at our new, seven-acre site at Black Family Farm. In 2015, the Black Farm growing project yielded 101,700 lbs. of fruit and vegetables (a 38% increase over 2014).

Ottawa Food Bank Community Harvest 2015


Our farm management involves production methods based on principles of ecological agriculture. We manage soil quality with applications of composted sheep manure (produced on-farm), crop rotation, cover cropping, and minimize the use of heavy equipment. We employ efficient irrigation systems and use biodegrable mulch, when needed. Although the site is not certified organic, we refrain from using synthetic pesticides or fungicides for pest management. Similarly, herbicides are not used; all weeding is done mechanically and/or manually. Crop protection from insect pests is achieved using netting as barriers and/or products permitted in organic agriculture.

We are very grateful to the Black Family who not only offer us the use of seven acres of their land, but also their time and farm equipment.


The donation of produce by farmers and home gardeners is also a significant part of the CH program.  Many thanks to the following farms who have generously donated their excess produce this year: Bailey Mowat, Jardin Rochon Garden, Foster Family Farm, John McEwen, Pinewood Orchards, Orleans Fruit Farm, Osgoode Apple Orchard, Panmure Farms (aka Hudson’s Farm Fresh Produce), Proulx Sugarbush and Berry Farm, Shawn Thompson, Shouldice Farms Inc. In total, local farms and gardeners donated over 53,000 lbs of produce in 2015.

We are also very grateful to the folks at Strathmere who, for the second consecutive year, committed themselves to grow over 1,000 lbs. of winter squash for the Community Harvest Program.

Although we did not resume our activities at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market in the 2015 season, we would like to thank them for the opportunity to do so. Similarly, we thank all the vendors who provided generous donations over the years; Acorn Creek Garden Farm, Avonmore Berry Farm, Bergeron Gardens and Greenhouses, Jardin Rochon Garden, Hall’s Apple Orchard, Hoople Creek Farm, Ingleside Tomatoes, Just Farms, Kiwan Farm, Limeydale Farm, Linda Bergeron, Luxy Farm, Needham’s Market Garden, Root Down Organic Farm, Roots and Shoots Farm, Savoury Pursuits, Waratah Downs, and Torrie Warner’s Farm.


Another way that we acquire fresh produce is through gleaning crops on local farms.  In the traditional sense of the word, “Gleaning”, is the age-old practice of collecting crops that remain in the field following a farmer’s commercial harvest.  The most common gleaning scenario for the Community Harvest program, however, is the harvesting of excess crops that will not be commercially harvested and therefore we yield a very high quality product.

In 2015, with the help of volunteers, we were able to glean 1,953 lbs. of food.

Thank you to Proulx Sugarbush and Berry Farm for their continued support in our gleaning program.

2015 Annual Report

If you wish to receive a Community Harvest annual report from any of the past seasons, please contact Jason Gray, Community Harvest Coordinator.

Please Consider Supporting the Community Harvest Program

During the growing season, we’re always on the lookout for dedicated volunteers to help out around the farm.  We also welcome monetary and equipment donations to help make our program more efficient, and to expedite program expansion.

Community Harvest Funders

We thank our supporters, donors, and foundation funders who have supported the Community Harvest program at some point during the past four years:

  • Black Family Farm
  • Bayer Crop Science
  • Carrot Cache Community Resources Inc.
  • Cisco
  • Community Foundation of Ottawa
  • Dr. Deborah Zimmerman
  • Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
  • Harold Crabtree Foundation
  • IBM
  • i-Sight
  • Johnson Controls
  • Metcalf Foundation
  • Ms. Maya-Ruth Kropp-Lazar
  • Ontario Trillium Foundation
  • Ottawa Veg Fest
  • RIM
  • RBC
  • Stantec
  • Stanton Drilling Inc.
  • Students at Glebe Collegiate Institue
  • TD Friends of the Environment Foundation
  • Telus
  • The City of Ottawa
  • The Gocan Family
  • The Home Depot (Kanata)
  • Thomas Cavanagh Construction Ltd.
  • Trent Lumber Treating Ltd.

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