Community garden

Common Roots urban farm needs a new home

Group to hold public meeting Wednesday to discuss move from Halifax Infirmary

Halifax’s Common Roots Urban Farm will have only one more growing season at its current location, so it’s looking for a new home.

“It will definitely be sad to dismantle that amazing thing that we have built together, but I am also really excited to see what we rebuild,” said Jayme Melrose, Common Roots co-ordinator.

The community farm was created in 2012 at the corner of Robie Street and Bell Road, beside the Halifax Infirmary. But the Nova Scotia Health Authority needs that land back for an expansion of the hospital, set to start next year.

Thousands of hands have worked thousands of hours to develop the space, Melrose said.

Last year, Common Roots rented 195 plots to community members and grew about $10,750 worth of fresh vegetables, according to the group’s 2017 annual report.

Melrose said more than 400 people use the garden, including patients, families and staff of the hospital.

“Meeting people, growing food, being physically active and [the enjoyment of] gardening are all motivations of the gardeners,” she said.

To Aimee Gasparetto, an Ecology Action Centre employee, Common Roots is exactly the kind of project her organization aims to support. Her focus is on community food.

“It provides an inviting and inclusive space for people to learn and share knowledge about food production, build physical and emotional health, and connect to one another and the natural world,” Gasparetto said in a Facebook message.

As for location, Gasparetto would like to see the community farm stay on the Halifax peninsula and be in a central location that’s easily accessible.

Melrose said she’s optimistic they’ll find a new home, though she’s reluctant to discuss possible locations at this point.

“It is a community farm; it’s not my farm,” she said.

Wherever the garden sprouts up next, the group will turn to fundraising and sponsorship to help cover the costs, Melrose added.

Common Roots Urban Farm will hold a public workshop on Wednesday at Citadel High School from 7-9 p.m. so people can share their ideas for the farm’s future.