There’s a lot of growth happening at the corner of Bell Road and Robie Street in Halifax, but it’s not your typical downtown development.
The Common Roots Urban Farm is enjoying its first season, with both crops and interest in the project growing by leaps and bounds. Located on the former Queen Elizabeth High School site, visitors and volunteers are really digging the urban agricultural site.
“People are enjoying their time out here. A lot of people, including some who’re waiting with a person in (the) emergency (department nearby), will come outside and wander through the gardens,” explained Jayme Melrose, project coordinator of Common Roots Urban Farm.
“Everyone who has come through is thrilled that this is here, and they are saying it’s a great initiative.”
More than 25 community plots are already built, the market garden is growing, a rain barrel system is operational and a compost system is underway. In addition, a special community work party on July 8 enabled the planting of the farm’s urban fruit and nut orchard.
Rows of food crops now growing onsite include potatoes, onions, green and dry beans, peanuts, and about 60 different kinds of tomatoes. Visitors can even enjoy an ‘edible walk’ section where nibbling is allowed.
“The garden is open all the time. Every day except Saturday we have people here from 3 to 6 p.m.,” Melrose said. “We really hope to convince people to come out and see what’s happening here.”
Although all community plots have been spoken for this year, there are still many ways to help. Volunteer hosts are needed to commit to a three hour shift one day per week during the growing season. Tasks include greeting farm visitors, offering tours and working in the gardens.
One of the best ways to help is to volunteer during one of the work parties held at the farm every Friday afternoon from 2 to 6 p.m.
“Wouldn’t it be great if everyone left work early on Friday to go grow food? Not only are we growing our own food, but we’re getting out to meet our neighbours,” Melrose said.
Continuing the spirit of engaging the community, an art fence project involving more than 20 community groups and local artists is also being planned, and a series of workshops are open to the public.
Learn more about all aspects of Common Roots Urban Farm at http://partnersforcare.ca/urban_farm.
Things Needed at Common Roots Urban Farm:
Creative containers for container gardeningtrellis materialsbig things we can plant such as an old rowboat, or canoehoes and long handled shovels12 foot long 2x8'sFinancial donations to the project are welcomeCode of Conduct at the urban farm:
•Be positive stewards of the land, tools and structures.
•Only nibble from the ‘Nibble’ plots.
•Dogs on leash please.
•Smile, you’re on live webcam!
•Exercise care, diligence, safety, and skill as best you can.
•Treat everyone with dignity and respect. Collaborate with others.
•Use at your own risk.
Help choose the winner of the farm's Kiosk Design Competition:
Kiosk designs have been narrowed down to the top three. Choose which you like best and want to see built on the Common Roots Urban Farm. Online voting is now open, and closes at midnight on July 22.