A large community garden has been cultivated on the site of the old Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children at 1018 Main Street in Dartmouth.
Twenty free plots were assigned at the garden to community groups and individuals as part of the celebration of the 91st year of the home that opened in 1921.
Tony Atuanya, executive director of the Watershed Association Development Enterprises, located right next to the garden, says this project has been a dream come true for the entire community.
"This is not about being white or black, this is about having a self sustaining garden where all people can meet, share gardening tips and have great conversations. And it is working," said Atuanya.
Row upon row of healthy looking vegetables are tended by groups like the RCMP, WADE staff and the New Beginnings Church. Each group or individual shows up whenever they have time.
"There is no schedule here, that is the good thing about it," said Atuanya. "Everyone comes when they have time. There is no pressure."
And although it is apparent that some groups have more green thumbs involved than other groups, that is perfectly okay, said Atuanya.
"The goals of the project are to enhance community outreach, assist local food banks, help develop entrepreneurship skills of local residents, encourage healthy lifestyles and recognize the historical significance of the Old Home Garden," he said. " Since the official launch and BBQ took place on June 10 we have had a lot of interest and success."
The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children had a garden in the early years of its incorporation.
"They grew their own food here, potatoes, corn ..." said Atuanya. "History has already set the pace for this garden."
Everyone is the same, said Atuanya when they are out there in coveralls in the garden.
"It is kind of neat to see police officers working the garden alongside businessmen or families, giving gardening tips and chatting with each other," he said.
Many milestones have been reached at the since 1908 when lawyer James Johnston first presented a proposal to the African united Baptist Association to establish a Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Children.
In 1983 the Black Cultural Centre opened on Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children Property. Seven years later the original Henry Gibson Bauld Elementary School opened as a meeting centre.
In 2000, a state of the art computer lab facility was established for residents and in 2004 the home received the Trail Blazer Award from the Preston Area Board of Trade.
Atuanya says through projects like the community garden and the new market will bring members of the community together and promote what they have to offer.
Seeing people together is awesome. And this will continue to grow and be bigger next year.”
A market is held every Saturday and Sunday in the summer from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. next to the W.A.D.E office at 49 Wilfred Jackson Way.
For information on the garden, call Joanna at 434-0674 extension 2. To find out how to participate in the weekly market, call Victoria Riley at 435-4648.