header image via Adventures in Local Food
After several months of white snow, it’s safe to say that we are all craving some green and colour! Sure you can stroll around the Public Gardens in the spring and summer, which is certainly beautiful but there are other urban gardens to visit.
Dozens of community groups maintain plots of varying plants, which provide much-needed food security, farmer training and engagement in our city. Make the most of the return to green by visiting one of the following urban gardens or farms in Halifax:
Dartmouth Common Community Garden
Some dedicated volunteers have worked very hard to make the Dartmouth Common a community gathering place, as it is home to a community oven and orchard, in addition to the garden.
The garden is located near the King St/Park Ave entrance to Leighton Dillman Park and for a small annual fee, anyone who is interested can rent a plot to grow their own herbs, vegetables and flowers. The park is a relaxing ferry ride and quick walk from downtown Halifax and provides a lovely view of the harbour.
Common Roots Urban Farm
This garden was established in 2012 on the corner of Bell Road and Robie Street after a dated high school building was torn down. It is a hybrid community garden, market garden and commons, providing healthy vegetables to both the hospital next door and the Parker Street Food Bank.
Arbours and seating areas provide relaxing spots for visitors to enjoy the beauty of the garden. Be sure to visit the weekly Urban Farm Stand Tuesday’s from 3:00-5:30pm (Robie Street entrance).
Spryfield Urban Farm
This is actually the site of the historic Kidston Farm, established in the 1700s! The field lay idle for a long time until members of the Urban Farm Museum Society of Spryfield got together and set up the current urban farm in 1996. Today the area includes gardens, apple trees, a barn and a woodland nature path and they offer a Come Grow With Us program to teach newbies how to grow vegetables.
Not to mention, there are regular events at the farm throughout the year, including Evenings in the Garden, a Harvest Fair and Plant Sale. Plot rental costs $15 for the season (April to October).
The HB Urban Farm program includes a 3600 sq foot community garden and large greenhouse. However, the cornerstone of the organization is the youth garden. Youth from the north-end neighbourhood of Halifax learn vital leadership and entrepreneurial skills by growing organic herbs, which they then turn into delicious salad dressings, and part of the sales contribute to a scholarship fund.
In 2014, a group of these youth appeared on Dragon’s Den and received $40,000 from the judges so their empire continues to grow.
Growing Strong Neighbourhoods
This program is managed by the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) and runs a total of four community gardens in the Clayton Park/Fairview area. Their goal is to not only provide a way for people to grow their own produce, but to be a place where newcomers and long-term residents can interact and learn from each other.
Most gardeners share a raised bed and you can’t beat the plot fee of $2!
There are many more urban gardens that are not included above. Halifax Garden Network is a great resource on the full urban garden community in our city. Now go out and get that green!
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