Common Roots Urban Farm preparing to relocate to Bi-Hi Park
After a long and exhausting 11-month search, the Common Roots Urban Farm has found its new home.
On Tuesday, Halifax Regional Council gave the green light for the grassroots garden project to break ground at the Bi-Hi Park off of Bayers Road.
The organization held a community session Sunday afternoon to plan the way forward.
“It’s an interesting opportunity to reboot and restart and look at what we’ve done and see what the people loved and what the people didn’t like and so it’s an interesting opportunity to refresh,” said Jayme Melrose, project director with Common Roots Urban Farm.
Ideas and plans for the new community garden were shared during the session, allowing the farm’s new neighbours to learn what might be located near them in the future.
After seven years of toiling the earth and growing food on the land next to the QEII, the urban farm knew it’s time was limited, as Common Roots was forced to make way for the hospital’s redevelopment later this year.
But it wasn’t until last week that Common Roots knew where it would put down its new roots.
“Many of our gardeners live in the Fairview-Clayton Park area and are new Canadians, and so we wanted to be near that community,” said Melrose.
As part of the deal agreed to by Halifax Regional Council, approximately 110 of the farm’s 200 garden plots will move to the new location.
The Halifax Regional Municipality will house and store the remaining 90 garden plots at existing community gardens in the municipality. Municipal staff will even assist in the move of the 90 garden plots, allocating staff resources and equipment to move plots.
Council’s decision has continued to work out in Common Roots’ favour, with the new location close to its new operating partner, MetroWorks, a non-profit that helps individuals gain work and connect to the community.
“Our organization is about gaining employability skills, and the farm presents a great opportunity for people to engage in that activity and to gain some skills that way,” said Dave Rideout, president of MetroWorks.
WATCH: Common Roots Urban Farm set to move in April 2019
But working and growing vegetables are just one aspect of the Common Roots project. Organizers say the farm is also a community-building project that unites families.
“You can go to the library and mall and see the diversity of people all around, but at the gardens, you always have an opportunity to chat somebody up and so there’s a lot of lasting relationships, which is the most important thing in health,” said Melrose.
When spring arrives, Common Roots Urban Farm will seek volunteers to help break new ground. As the saying goes, many hands make light work.
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