Community, Small Scale & Urban Agriculture

As part of the update to the Municipality’s Official Plan, new policies were included to support local residents in efforts towards food sovereignty and the creation of a local food economy. In 2014 the Zoning By-law was updated to implement these policy directions, creating new permissions for Community & Urban Agricultural Uses such as Community Gardens, Urban and Rural Backyard Poultry, Hobby Beekeeping as well as the keeping of Accessory Livestock on Rural Residential lots.

By-law 077-2014 Community and Urban Agriculture By-law (78.93 kB) was passed by Council along-side the Zoning By-law Update to regulate the keeping of Backyard Poultry and the creation of Community Gardens. These two uses are broadly permitted but are subject to registration/permits before you begin.

Backyard Poultry (Chickens)

The Municipality of Meaford’s Zoning By-law allows for the keeping of Backyard Poultry as an accessory use on a residential property.

Backyard Poultry is defined by the Zoning By-law as:

“a pullet or hen kept for companionship as a pet or for the purpose of providing food for the personal consumption of occupants of a dwelling on the same lot” (Roosters are not permitted)

A building, shelter, and/or animal enclosure for keeping Backyard Poultry must meet the standards of the Zoning By-law. Also, backyard chicken owners must complete the ‘Application for the Keeping of Backyard Poultry’ after reading a number of Chicken Care and Biosecurity resources. The requirements are outlined in detail in the Factsheet below.

 Backyard Poultry Factsheet (112.95 kB)

 Backyard Poultry Application Form (70.13 kB)

Biosecurity Recommendations for Small Flock Poultry Owners

Keeping Your Birds Healthy Resource Kit : This kit is available for viewing at the Municipal Administration Office (21 Trowbridge) and in the Sustainability Reading Room at the Meaford Public Library. It is also available for order (FREE) by calling the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or online by clicking HERE.

Community Gardens

The Municipality of Meaford’s Zoning By-law allows for a licensed community garden in any zone other than the EP-Wetland Zone.  A Community Garden is defined by the Zoning By-law as:

“Any planter, bed (raised or otherwise), or piece of land that is used to produce flowers, fruits and/or vegetables as a community, neighbourhood or group initiative”

Participation in a community garden project is intended to be peaceful, cooperative and inclusive and to foster inter-generational interaction.

By-law 77-2014 requires licensing of Community Gardens except where the garden is overseen or administered by the Municipality or where the garden is affiliated with and will be carried out on the same lands as an Institutional Use permitted by the Zoning By-law. For example, no license is required for a Community Garden affiliated with and located on the same property as a school or church.

Where a Community Garden is proposed on privately owned lands, a short Application Form must be completed and submitted to the Municipality by the applicant. An additional land-use agreement may be indicated where a Community Garden is proposed on Municipal property.

The Zoning By-law permits certain accessory buildings and structures to be co-located with a licensed Community Garden. Section 4.27of the Zoning By-law outlines the siting and sizing rules that apply. These requirements as well as a ‘Siting, Operations and Maintenance Checklist’ are provided within the Factsheet below.

 Community Gardens Factsheet & Checklist (93.21 kB)

 Community Gardens Application Form (74.62 kB)

Current Community Garden Projects: 

Community Gardening is a ‘growing’ area of interest in the Municipality of Meaford, with a number of sites within the Urban Area in production: Listing, coming soon!

Hobby Beekeeping

Hobby beekeeping is the keeping of bees in a limited number of hives in conjunction with a licensed community garden or accessory to a permitted residential use for the purpose of personal consumption of the honey by the occupants of a dwelling on the same lot.

Section 4.28 of Zoning By-law permits Hobby Beekeeping, subject to the following:

Where hobby bee-keeping is carried out accessory to a residential or licensed community garden use, the following provisions, in addition to all requirements of the Ontario Bees Act, shall apply:

  1. a) A maximum of four (4) beehives shall be permitted; and,
  2. b) Beehives shall be located:
  3. i) Only in a rear yard on a parcel in a residential zone; and,
  4. ii) 30m from any lot line.

Important Note: Under the provisions of the Ontario Bees Act “No person shall be a beekeeper in Ontario without a Certificate of Registration issued by the Provincial Apiarist”. For more information about the free registration process (through the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) and to complete the Honey Bee Registration application form, click HERE

Links to Other Resources:

Ontario Bees Act

Ontario Beekeepers’ Association (includes beekeeper resources and educational opportunities)

Factsheet: Overview of Beekeeping Regulations In Ontario:: What you should know if you own honey bees

Accessory Livestock on Rural Residential Lots

Accessory Livestock refers to the keeping of livestock for recreational purposes or personal consumption by the Occupants of the dwelling on the same (rural residential) lot.

Accessory Livestock are permitted accessory to a residential dwelling in the Rural Residential Zone.        Associated buildings, structures and any manure storage are to be located as Agricultural Buildings (per  Table 8.3 of the Zoning By-law); must not exceed 4.5m in height; and, must be located in accordance with  the Provincial Minimum Distance Separation II Formula (MDS II).

Associated pens, runs, enclosures or  paddocks  are restricted to the rear yard and must be setback a minimum of 15m from a dwelling on an  adjacent lot.

Links to Other Resources:

Factsheet: Building Permit Requirements for Livestock Operations

Factsheet: Nutrient Management Act, Determining when a NMS is required

Provincial Minimum Distance Separation Formulae

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