Halifax’s Common Roots Urban Farm grew up on interim land that was allocated by the NSHA. With the QEII Redevelopment Project’s new construction slated to begin in 2019, our vibrant community farm, located at Bell and Robie, has one more growing season and then it has to find a new home.
The statement from NSHA can be found here. “The farm has greatly enhanced the QEII Health Sciences Centre and the broader community and is very much in keeping with NSHA’s vision of healthy people, healthy communities – for generations.
The Common Roots Urban Farm will soon be moving to a new home as a result of construction related to the QEII Redevelopment Project.
The ongoing success of the farm is very important to community members, as it is to Nova Scotia Health Authority and Partners for Care (the farm’s operator). We are fully committed to working together to ensure the farm’s long-term success – regardless of its location.”
With the impending move, CRUF gardeners are asking, “Where can our Garden Grow?” Common Roots and Partners for Care are inviting the public to come and share their ideas and help us envision the farms future at public workshop to be held on Wednesday April 11, at Citadel High’s Portia White Atrium, from 7:00 pm– 9:00 pm.
“Since the farms inception in 2012, Common Roots Urban Farm has expanded way beyond what we ever thought possible,” says the farm’s Project Coordinator Jayme Melrose. “We knew the site was destined to become our city’s new hospital and while we hoped that some of the farm could stay, we realize that trying to grow healthy food beside a construction site just doesn’t make sense.”
Melrose continues, “We’ve done a great job of showing ourselves that a community garden and farm is valued and needed, and it’s bigger and better than we ever imagined. Now that the pilot farm has to move, it would be nice to find a home that we can really settle in to.”
In six years our city’s community farm has grown to be one of the most socially inclusive public spaces in Halifax. Common Roots is a community gardening and gathering space where people of many different ethno-cultural backgrounds, age groups and income levels all come together around growing and eating healthy food. In 2016 the farm had over 7,500 visitors.
From its initial 42 community garden plots in 2012, the farm now hosts 195 plots, 380 active community members, a Market Garden that produces over $14,000 (5,500 units) of fresh healthy veggies for sale and donation, a Rick Hansen Healing Garden with accessible gardening spaces, and a Deep Roots Program in partnership with ISANS that engages New Canadians to volunteer, grow food and share their farming knowledge.
“Our urban farm is a place where you build relationships with people outside your usual friend group” says Melrose. “In an urban garden you’re allowed to talk to strangers, and you have easy conversation starters.”
Sara Burgess, the farm’s Market Garden Coordinator agrees, “There’s so many conversations going on, and we are all learning from each other. The garden is a healing space, a place to gather, share food, practice English, or simply take a quiet walk.”
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