Nova Scotia

'Last hurrah' for urban farm on the move

Hundreds of people came to smash pumpkins and bid farewell to the current home of Common Roots Urban Farm, which is on the move to make room for redevelopment of the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

'I think people feel really good about what we've built together'

Common Roots Urban Farm held its annual Harvest Hootenanny and Pumpkin Smash on Sunday, which also served as a last hurrah and their current location. (Emma Davie/CBC)

It was a farewell to this year's harvest — and to their home — for the urban farm group searching for a new space in Halifax.

On Sunday afternoon, hundreds of people came to sip apple cider and smash pumpkins at the last event for Common Roots Urban Farm at their current location on the corner of Robie Street and Bell Road.

But with the redevelopment of the QEII Health Sciences Centre set to start in the spring, the farm has about four months to find a new spot to put down roots.

Jayme Melrose with Common Roots Urban Farm says finding a new home has been challenging, and they're hoping for ideas from the community. (Emma Davie/CBC)

"This is the last hurrah on this very beautiful site that thousands of people have helped make together over seven years," said Jayme Melrose with Common Roots.

"I think the feelings are pretty complicated. People are really proud of what we've done, sad to have to leave it, interested in what comes ahead. And I think people feel really good about what we've built together. I think we've expanded the terrain of the possible."

Melrose said the hunt for the right piece of land "is complicated," but they're open to ideas from the community.

She said one of the best parts about the project is that it brings different groups of people together — from newcomers to families and even tourists.

The farm also runs a program in partnership with Immigrant Services of Nova Scotia, which provides a space for refugees who were farmers to practice English and return to farming.

Imelde Nduwimana, who is from Burundi but worked on a farm in Tanzania, is part of that Deep Roots program. She was dancing at Sunday's event.

Imelde Nduwimana is part of the farm's Deep Roots program, which helps refugees who were farmers before they came to Canada get back to the land. (Emma Davie/CBC)

She said she grows beans and leafy greens and other vegetables from her homeland.

"In my country I worked at a farm and here I like to farm because it's exercise for me and vegetables are healthy for me and for other people," she said.

Part of Sunday's event had children, and even some adults, smashing leftover Halloween jack-o'-lanterns to be used for compost on the farm.

Eight-year-old Gus Harvey was having fun pulverizing pumpkins on Sunday afternoon. He didn't know exactly why he was doing it — but he had a good guess.

"Probably they're going to make a ginormous pumpkin pie."

Gus Harvey, 8, said he wasn't sure exactly why he was smashing pumpkins, but he was having fun doing it. (Emma Davie/CBC)

Melrose said because they're moving, most of the leftover pumpkins will go to a chicken farm instead of being composted at Common Roots.

She said the event was also a way to thank volunteers and spread the word of their crowdfunding campaign to generate money to move their soil and greenhouses.

Melrose hopes to be able to sort out the logistics over the winter and move everything in April.

"Because it's a farm it's never perfect. We're always doing it messily," she said.

About the Author

Emma Davie

Reporter

Emma Davie is a reporter, web writer and videojournalist in Halifax. She loves listening to, and telling stories from people in the Maritimes. You can reach her at emma.davie@cbc.ca.

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