Gathering Resources and Funding for Food Forests

So, your community wants to create a food forest but faces financial limitations. Then, look no further than here. In this article, we detail a non-exhaustive list of ways you can make your food forest dream, a reality.

  • Private institutions: Bank’s Environmental Funds (e.g. the TD Bank Environmental Fund)
  • NGOs like Humanity Unified, Project Food Forest (links below)
  • Community organizing: Fundraisers, GoFundMe’s: promoting on Facebook, Twitter, via email
  • Donations for trees and shrubs from a local nursery
  • State funding: Writing letters to your representative


To start a food forest, you will need a suitable location, a water source, people power, water, tools and seedlings. First, you will need permission to plant on your chosen location. For example, this is the case if it is a public park or a private farm. Second, you will need a water source (for potable water). Hydrants can’t be used. If there’s no existing clean water connection, this will be a $25,000 cost to build one. Third, you will need volunteers to assist your initial set up. You can find a cost breakdown for resources below. With this food forest, you can try to reduce your initial start up costs by sourcing donations for tools and resources from your local community.

Resources Cost (CAD)
Shed (for storage) $800 each
Portable washroom $205 per month
Shovel $60 each
Spade $20 each
Gloves $3 per pair
Trees $50 per tree
Shrubs $40 per shrub

A Sample Deputation Letter

Do you want to make a presentation to your local town or city council to ask for help? Here’s a sample template letter for you to make a deputation. Make sure to email your councillor and to let them know about your plan to approach your local Council.


Good morning (City name) Council,

I would like to thank you for this opportunity to speak to you virtually at this General Committee Meeting.

On behalf of the (your food forest gardeners name), I would like to ask for help to start a food forest in our community.

(This is where you ask for the tools, resources).

We shared our idea with our local councillors, (Who else did you pitch your idea with?) etc.

(Name your benefits in this paragraph.) We support the benefits that food forests can bring. In Nelson, B.C., they are being planted to address soil erosion as a disaster prevention method. In Sudbury, the surplus food is given to people in need and the forest supports increased biodiversity. In Toronto’s Black Creek food forest, there are job opportunities created to support local residents. Now what about for (your city)? This project can be a community asset that residents are proud of. The investment in a food forest will help directly alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. By planting food that is resistant to climate change and drought, we can support a sustainable and local food system. By engaging youth, seniors and families in gardening programming, we can improve community resiliency and wellbeing. This small-scale project can achieve big benefits such as fostering intergenerational connections and providing a space to foster connections between settlers and Indigenous peoples in the call to achieve Truth and Reconciliation. With a public and accessible food forest, we can build a better (city) in the next 2 years and for the future.

I would like to take this time to thank our community partners and supporters: (name your supporters).

Thank you Council and Mayor for listening to this deputation. My community group and our supporters, who re-imagined a public space with a unique food forest solution, will be waiting to see your action to address food insecurity, social isolation and climate change in (city).