Urban farm expands and benefits from accessibility upgrades to help bring people back to public spaces safely

News release

Government of Canada fueling community revitalization and creating the conditions for local economies to thrive

August 5, 2022 · Halifax, Nova Scotia · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Canadian cities and towns flourish when they have community public spaces to promote social interaction and physical activity and provide access to recreational programs and facilities. These amenities are integral to the overall well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Our economic recovery is closely linked to the vitality of our local communities and their shared spaces.

Today, the Honourable Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West, announced an investment of $31,266 through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) for Metroworks Employment Association, a not-for-profit organization which operates Common Roots Urban Farm. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA.

This funding will support upgrades to two Common Roots Urban Farm locations - BiHi Park and Woodside. Both locations will replace current garden sheds with new, larger, and more accessible sheds. This will provide more space for equipment storage, including for farm users’ personal tools if desired. BiHi Park farm will also re-landscape its walkways and add signs to make plots more wheelchair accessible.

The CCRF was launched in June 2021. The fund provides $500 million over two years to Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs) to invest in shared and inclusive public spaces. The Government of Canada is committed to investing in shared spaces to make them safer, greener and more accessible. This will help stimulate local economies, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for Canadians.

Quotes

“Strong, vibrant communities in Nova Scotia are a critical part of a robust and inclusive economic recovery. Investing in shared public spaces like the Common Roots Urban Farm in Halifax helps revitalize local economies, strengthens community involvement, and gives residents a place to come together safely.”

-       The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA

“I'm so pleased to be able to announce this funding from the Government of Canada for Common Roots Urban Farm. This unique urban farm provides both a place to grow food and an opportunity to develop strong community bonds through gardening, social events, and educational workshops. Halifax has a diverse and growing population, and community initiatives like Common Roots play a vital role in welcoming people to our neighbourhoods, connecting them with others, and fostering pride in the place we call home. Our government will continue to invest in spaces like Common Roots that support the health, development, and sense of belonging of the residents of Halifax West.“

-       The Honourable Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West

Common Roots is all about working together to grow, and that's what we're doing today with this funding partnership. Our urban farm aims to become a sanctuary in the middle of the city for a diverse community. This funding from the Government of Canada will help us to expand our efforts to improve physical, mental, environmental and community health in the heart of Halifax."

-       Sara Burgess, Coordinator, Common Roots Urban Farm, BiHi Park

Quick facts

  • Common Roots Urban Farm is a social enterprise managed by MetroWorks Employment Association. The organization promotes community participation and connection among newcomers to Canada, people experiencing mental illness, and low-income families. The farms are available for everyone in the community to use.

  • Participating on the organization’s activities allows newcomers to develop their English vocabulary and become comfortable in a Canadian workplace, leading to increased job readiness and enhanced employment opportunities. It is also a way for newcomers to grow cultural foods not easily found in stores. 

  • Low-income families, who have limited opportunity to grow their own food and may struggle with food insecurity, benefit from access to food they grow on the farm. 

  • The Canada Community Revitalization Fund supports two major streams of activity:

    • adapting community spaces and assets so that they may be used safely in accordance with local public health guidelines,
    • building or improving community spaces to encourage Canadians to re-engage in, and explore their communities and regions.

Associated links

Contacts

Marianne Blondin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Official Languages and of the
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Marianne.Blondin@acoa-apeca.gc.ca

Lauren Sinclair
Director of Communications
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
782-641-6365
Lauren.Sinclair@acoa-apeca.gc.ca

Bethanee Diamond
Communications and Marketing Coordinator
Metroworks Employment Association
902-240-5619
BethaneeD@MyMetroWorks.ca

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