On Sunday, March 10, Common Roots hosted a Public Engagement Session at Calvin Presbyterian Church, across from our newly approved site, BiHi park.

Approximately 70 people attended, including Common Roots community members, newcomer gardeners, neighbours and other interested community members, along with HRM Parks and Community staff. There were three interpreters present, interpreting in Arabic, Swahili and Nepalese.

Engagement attendees expressed appreciation for the various aspects of the current CRUF site and a desire to replicate many of those aspects at the new site. People are eager to use the new farm site as a gathering and learning space, as well as for gardening and growing healthy food. Many people suggested putting a fence or natural barrier around the perimeter of the North Side of  BiHi park to make the space safer.

Common Roots community members said they are concerned that the site is too small and that they will not be able to keep a plot with Common Roots. Challenges around accessibility of the site for participants who are blind or partially sighted as well as those who use wheelchairs were brought forward. The lack of access to water was also highlighted.

Common Roots initially requested the North side of BiHi park. Due to safety concerns, as there are no crosswalks on the North side, the city approved the South side of the park. The South side of the park is a well used multi-use green space, and the surrounding community is very concerned about the loss of this park. Local community members are also worried about safety, as several busy roads surround the park.

Moving forward from this engagement, HRM is conducting a traffic study to look into adding crosswalk access to the Northside of BiHi park. We are waiting on their update. From there, we’ll continue to work with the city to determine our next steps.

Many people at the engagement said they want to attend a follow up meeting where CRUF shares plans for moving forward. We will be hosting a drop in session on Thursday, April 11 from 5:30 – 7:00 at Props Floral, 5533 Young St in the Hydrostone.

If you missed the session but have questions or comments, please email crurbanfarm@gmail.com or call 902-210-4694.