For the past four years, Common Roots has run a program out of our Market Garden called Deep Roots in partnership with ISANS (Immigrant Services of NS). Participants in this program have been newcomers to Canada who were refugees and were farmers in their first countries. Deep Roots has provided people with a place to build community, practice English, and return to farming (even if it’s a much smaller farm!).
For four years we have learned so much together: about farming, language and working with one another. As a result of this learning, we’ve decided to try something different this year and to run the market garden as an incubator farm.
An incubator farm is growing space where people have access to land, tools and markets to help them try out producing and selling. At Common Roots, Deep Roots farmers are learning about specific production needs and sales in Halifax – everyone has grown and sold vegetables in other countries. This year there are 8 farmers. Each farmer has 250 ft of garden bed, that we’ve been referring to as a ‘Tiny Farm’. They are responsible for planning, planting, caring for and harvesting this farm. The food grown will go to their families, their communities, and be for sale at our market stand Wednesdays from 11:30 – 6:00.
We’ve spent the past month planning our gardens and starting seeds, and now we’re in the garden all day Wednesdays working on our Tiny Farms. Over the next few months we’ll share more about who’s farming this year, and what we’re working on. There is so much to learn, and it will be so exciting to see how the Tiny Farms produce over the summer!
And, we’re not the only farm doing this. We’ve been inspired by and learned from a group of farms in the United States who are doing similar projects, often on a larger scale. If you’re interested to read more, here are a few links for farms in Georgia, Ohio and Maine.