It’s a dirt path that leads to an outdoor classroom created by a Halifax grandmother and her two-year-old granddaughter, Fiona.
“I think that so many people now have lost touch, literally with the soil. I think it’s a shame, you know. Even growing up in an urban environment like we are in Halifax, I think we need to grow our own food,” Kate Brookes said, a gardener who rents a plot at Common Roots Urban Farm.
Brookes grew up in London, England during a time when living off the land was a critical part of survival.
“My Mom always grew a huge garden because it was just after the war and everyone had to ration their food so she grew just about everything,” Brookes said.
As Brookes grew up, she began noticing people were becoming more attached to grocery stores than their garden beds.
“Before I left London I would talk to London kids and I would say, ‘where does milk come from?’ and they’d say from a carton or a jar,” Brookes said.
She began thinking of how to pass on her ‘childhood garden values’ to future generations and that’s when her granddaughter Fiona was born.
They’ve been gardening together ever since.
“She’s learning how everything comes from the soil and I think a lot of children these days don’t know where their food comes from,” Brookes said.
Urban farms have been rising in popularity throughout Halifax, as a way to give those living in the city, the opportunity to connect with the earth.
“I think the urban farms give us a place to share. This environment is so supportive and there are lots of resources so whether you’re a beginner gardener or a fairly experienced gardener, it’s a place where you can come and learn a few more things,” Melrose said.
An earthy connection that’s given one grandmother the opportunity to pass on her green thumb.
“This soil is part of us so I think it’s vital that we eat things from our own soil and our own environment,” Brookes said.