Starting Your Own Garden

Perhaps you’ve found a grey patch of campus that you’d like to see greener, or you’ve got a group of motivated gardeners who’d like to cultivate their own crops. We encourage you to start your own garden, but keep in mind that it will be a lot of work, and will take time to get approved.

Once you’re ready to apply, send an email to sustainability [at] to get the process started.

Click below to learn more about the process.

Choosing a Location

If you have a location in mind already, make sure the location is not off limits (map for downtown campus, contact the office of sustainability for Mac).

If you have a project idea, but no location in mind, the Office of Sustainability can help you find a location later.

See the Urban Agriculture zoning map of potential/off-limits areas for the McGill Downtown campus


It’s time to articulate your vision for the garden. This will include:

  • Scope - how large is the project? Is it portable bins, or permanent fixtures?
  • Operations - funding, supplies, collaborations
  • Governance - who will be in charge of the garden? What structures will ensure effective turnover year after year?
  • Mandate - what does it offer the campus that is not already being offered? Who does it benefit?

Please submit a short description of the scope, mandate, operations, and governance structure of your proposed garden, as well as why you feel this new garden would meet unfulfilled needs on campus, to sustainability [at] You can refer to the New Garden Application Form to get you started.


If the working group approves, you can now start your Garden Design Proposal to be granted full approval! This should include a map and a write-up of the design elements you’ve considered.

Example design considerations:

  • Light
    • Approximate hours of direct sunlight (Min. 6, ideally 8-10)
    • Survey the site at different times of the day
    • Consider sun direction
    • If you have the resources, a light map will be helpful for crop planting
  • Water source
  • Soil & Terrain (if using in-ground beds)
  • Drainage
  • Materials you will be using to build your garden

Making it Happen

Once your design has been approved, you can go ahead with applying for funding, constructing your garden, and signing contracts with the necessary parties. This could include:

  • Signed letter of agreement with the Urban Agriculture working group (and building manager, when applicable)
  • Guarantee your annual funding source through constitutional amendment or memorandum of agreement
  • Employment contracts with hired garden coordinators

You are strongly encouraged to attend events and meetups organized by the Roots Garden Coalition, to keep in touch with the other on-campus gardens.

For more information on what it takes to maintain a garden, please look over the McGill Guide to Urban Agriculture created by the Roots coalition.

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