Community Projects

Halifax Community Organic Herb Gardens

The Halifax Community Organic Herb Gardens will be established in 2017. We will take a multidisciplinary approach to community-supported agriculture. The focus will be on developing small-scale urban organic herb production and education at multiple sites throughout the HRM.

This project will bring the community together to promote health and well-being via DIY workshops. Workshops will include:

  • How to set up and care for your own home-based organic herb garden;
  • How to prepare your own organic skin care products;
  • How to prepare meals and improve health with organic herbs;
  • The benefits of producing and purchasing organic, local products.

Why are we taking this initiative to set up organic community herb gardens?

  • Community gardens increase a sense of community ownership and stewardship.
  • Community gardens foster the development of a community identity and spirit.
  • Community gardens bring people together from a wide variety of backgrounds (age, race, culture, social class).
  • Community gardens build community leaders.
  • Community gardens offer a focal point for community organizing, and can lead to community-based efforts to deal with other social concerns.

Cultural Opportunities

  • Community gardens offer unique opportunities for new immigrants (who tend to be concentrated in low-income urban communities) to:
  • Produce traditional crops otherwise unavailable locally,
  • Take advantage of the experience of elders to produce a significant amount of food for the household,
  • Provide inter-generational exposure to cultural traditions,
  • Offer a cultural exchange with other gardeners,
  • Learn about block clubs, neighborhood groups, and other community information.
  • Community gardens offer neighborhoods an access point to non-English speaking communities.
  • Community gardens allow people from diverse backgrounds to work side-by-side on common goals without speaking the same language.

Youth

Community gardens offer unique opportunities to teach youth about:

  • Where food comes from
  • Practical math skills
  • Basic business principles
  • The importance of community and stewardship
  • Issues of environmental sustainability
  • Job and life skills
  • Community gardening is a healthy, inexpensive activity for youth that can bring them closer to nature, and allow them to interact with each other in a socially meaningful and physically productive way.

Food Production

  • Many community gardeners, especially those from immigrant communities, take advantage of food production in community gardens to provide a significant source of food and/or income.
  • Community gardens provide access to nutritionally rich foods that may otherwise be unavailable to low-income families and individuals.
  • Urban agriculture is 3-5 times more productive per acre than traditional large-scale farming!

Health

  • Studies have shown that community gardeners and their children eat healthier diets than do non-gardening families.
  • Eating locally produced food reduces asthma rates, because children are able to consume manageable amounts of local pollen and develop immunities.
  • Exposure to green space reduces stress and increases a sense of wellness and belonging.
  • The benefits of Horticulture Therapy can be and are used to great advantage in community gardens.

Green Space

  • Community gardens add beauty to the community and heighten people’s awareness and appreciation for living things.
  • Community gardens filter rainwater, helping to keep lakes, rivers, and groundwater clean.
  • Community gardens restore oxygen to the air and help to reduce air pollution.
  • Community gardens recycle huge volumes of tree trimmings, leaves, grass clippings, and other organic wastes back into the soil.
  • Community gardens provide a place to retreat from the noise and commotion of urban environments.
  • Community gardens provide much needed green space in lower-income neighborhoods which typically have access to less green space than do other parts of the community.

 

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