Located at one of the busiest intersections in downtown Halifax, and on the grounds of one of Nova Scotia’s largest hospitals, Common Roots Urban Farm is a community farm that includes a Healing Garden, a public park-like area used by hospital patients with mobility issues and other visitors, 175 garden plots for community members, and a Market Garden Shop where volunteer immigrants and refugees work grow over 1,000 lbs of food and flowers annually for sale and for donation to the local food bank.
Accessibility improvements to the Farm include creating level and smooth walking and wheeling pathways, wheelchair-accessible raised garden beds, low-vision accessible garden beds, and an accessible watering station.
Common Roots Urban Farm brings together a richly diverse community, centered on gardening as a practice of healthy living. Our Healing Garden, located right in front of the hospital’s Emergency department and attached to acute care hospital, gets visits from many wheelchair users in various stages of mobility. Breaking down any barriers we have, will allow us to be even more inclusive in our community-building.
Our Healing Garden will increase the spaces where wheelchair users can garden. The project will also increase the awareness of wheelchair users as active participants in our community. Having an accessible garden will remind us that not everyone is able-bodied all the time and will remind us that we can design our spaces to include a wider range of users.
We are honoured and excited to be the only urban farm funded by the Barrier Buster program. Being a Barrier Buster will increase awareness throughout our city for accessible community gardening as a healthy lifestyle choice, and be a showcase so that other public open spaces will consider removing the barriers to healthy lifestyles.