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Common Roots celebrates first Pumpkin Smash at new BiHi location

Click to play video: 'Common Roots Urban Farm pumpkin smash' Common Roots Urban Farm pumpkin smash
Hundreds of Halloween pumpkins met their demise Saturday afternoon at the Common Roots Urban Farm’s annual pumpkin smash. Elizabeth McSheffrey was there and has the details. – Nov 2, 2019

Hundreds of jack-o-lanterns met their demise on Saturday, crushed under the mallets of children at the Common Roots Urban Farm’s annual Pumpkin Smash.

They’re not paid for the manual labour, but the hammer-holding tots told Global News they were more than happy to do the work.

“(The best part is) you get messy,” said six-year-old smasher Gracie Morris, adding that brick-dropping is a superior technique.

“You get all disgusting,” six-year-old Lesedi Mavuma agreed, after demolishing her first.

READ MORE: Pumpkin smashing a good way to mark end of Halifax’s Common Roots Urban Farm

The Pumpkin Smash is a cherished community tradition, drawing between 100 and 200 people every year. In addition to the sport of squash-squishing, the celebration includes a feast of diverse foods, music and dance.

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It’s also an opportunity to teach children about sustainability, said Common Roots Urban Farm co-ordinator Sara Burgess, as the remains are used for compost in the gardens.

“The pumpkin smashing itself is an opportunity to take all of the slightly rotten jack-o-lanterns and turn them into something useful,” she said. “Rather than throwing them in the garbage or city compost, we can use them to grow healthy food next year.”

Click to play video: 'Common Roots Urban Farm attempts to find common ground for new home' Common Roots Urban Farm attempts to find common ground for new home
Common Roots Urban Farm attempts to find common ground for new home – Mar 10, 2019

This was the eighth Common Roots Pumpkin Smash, but the first at its new location in BiHi Park, next to the Bayers Road Centre. The community garden was forced to relocate from its location near the QE II Hospital in April, in order to make room for hospital re-development.

The new farm now stretches 7,000 square feet, and includes 56 raised garden beds — 36 community plots, 17 veggie and flower market garden beds and three common plots for “public gardening and nibbling.”

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More than 50 people grow food at the new site, more than half of whom are newcomers from Syria, Burundi, Bhutan and Congo, according to a Common Roots release issued last month.

“We’ve really seen in five months what we can do,” said Burgess. “We’d love to really settle in and really connect with our new community here, and we’d like to either expand this site or identify other sites as well that we could grow on.”

 

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