Nova Scotia

Accessible garden grows at Halifax's Common Roots Urban Farm

Common Roots Urban Farm in Halifax will keep adding to expand accessible options for gardeners with disabilities.

'It truly is a healing garden for the community,' says Gerry Post

Accessibility advocate Gerry Post says the Common Roots Urban Farm has become a healing oasis for hospital patients. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

An accessible garden outside a Halifax hospital is blossoming — and expanding.

Common Roots Urban Farm, at the corner of Robie Street and Bell Road, has built several wheelchair-accessible garden beds. 

"It's incredible to see this happen," accessibility advocate Gerry Post said Friday.

Common Roots Urban Farm organizers have plans to increase the amount of paved pathways. (CBC)

Garden grows

The blooming accessible garden will keep growing this fall. The nearby Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre will start integrating gardening into its programming, Post said.

Garden organizers also plan to build more wheelchair-accessible beds and paths, and add a tactile garden for people with visual impairments. 

"They can feel their way around and know where the plants are that they are farming," Post said.

Common Roots Urban Farm is right outside the emergency room on Robie Street in Halifax. (CBC)

Artistic and fun

Post is a lifelong gardener, but found he had to stop that passion when he became paralyzed almost four years ago.

"It was a big disappointment," he said.

Now he has two garden beds propped high enough so he can easily reach from his wheelchair. Each is filled with tomatoes, lettuce, parsley, mint and colourful flowers.

"It's a little bit artistic. It's a lot of fun," Post said.

The raised gardens make it possible for Gerry Post to harvest vegetables from his wheelchair. (CBC)

'Truly a healing garden'

The area's become an oasis for people at the nearby emergency room and rehabilitation centre, he said.

Families of patients sit among the plants when they're upset, patients stroll through and nurses enjoy their breaks there, he said.

"It truly is a healing garden for the community," Post said.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority owns the land the garden sits on, which used to house the old Queen Elizabeth High School.

It's earmarked for future hospital expansion at a yet-to-be-determined date. The garden's size is expected to be reduced, but not eliminated entirely. 

With files from Elizabeth Chiu