Restoring urban spaces

Are there any business owners nearby you that have way too much wasted yard space that’s currently all grass and rarely trafficked? There are many near me.

Most will likely be leased and they may have limited control over what can be done with their properties, but potentially some are not.

I have been considering approaching some of my neighbourhood’s stores, services, orgs, or property owners for strip malls or other commercial spaces and gently starting a convo about how they could convert their land themselves or let a kindly community group grow on that space. 🙂

This also goes for any available public lands such as boulevards, walkways, and other available spaces.

Pros for them:

  • no maintenance of their lawn space, which they are potentially paying to be cut every week for most of the year and that is expensive
  • giving back with no long term commitment, and, if they let us work it, no costs or work or tools needed for them. We can even make a commitment to them to return the space and reseed with grass when they are done letting us use it.
  • minimal watering if we plan the space right, more cost savings
  • if they make food at the location, they can potentially source cheaper, fresher procuce here and seasonal specials
  • they can put signs about what they are doing to encourage others to do the same in the area, also visibility for them as a charitable business or business that cares about community
  • conversation starter that will potentially drive more business as people come to see or inquire what’s going on
  • a concrete way to actually honour land acknowledgements and not have them be merely empty words
  • they can learn along with us about traditional foods and medicines and be more sustainable themselves

If you are a business or have property in the Region of Waterloo and would like to see what’s possible for your space, please contact us at

This strategy I think is also useful in talks with residential neighbours who we can all start individually coordinating crops and harvest with.
What other ways can we approach restoring space and getting our neighbours to join in?

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