Community gardens provide many benefits for residents. They offer opportunities to interact with other neighbours, add beauty to neighbourhoods, encourage environmental sustainability and promote active living.
A community garden (on HRM-owned public property) is a volunteer operated, small scale garden containing vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, and native and ornamental plants which meet existing HRM regulations, bylaws, and assessments. A community garden must have “common areas” with shared upkeep as well as individual garden plots. All community gardens involve a group effort in getting started and making decisions, and they provide opportunities for the community to participate. Community gardening differs from urban agriculture which is an industry that produces and distributes agricultural products to local markets.
HRM may consider requests from volunteers who are part of a non-profit organization (or in the process of forming one) to access HRM-owned (public) property for the purpose of establishing, operating and maintaining a community garden. All requests are subject to regulations, bylaws and assessments. Community gardens are not permitted on any HRM right-of-way.
Although starting a community garden can be very rewarding, it does require organization, a volunteer group commitment, hard work and support from your local community. Before starting a community garden project, it is recommended that you research gardening projects that may already be underway in your community. You may be able to connect with something that is already happening.
If you are looking at starting a community gardening project here are some of the things you will need to consider:
Your organization can fill out an application form including a plot plan and review the operating procedures that are attached to the application. The deadline is April 1st for upcoming gardening season. Applications can be found on halifax.ca or picked up at your local community recreation centre. Questions concerning your application should be directed to the Recreation Area Coordinator (a list of coordinators can be found on the application.
Your organization will be contacted once your application has been reviewed. If your application is approved an on site meeting will be scheduled.
There are many community gardening resources to help you with your project. The list below offers a few that you may find helpful:
For more information on how to start a community garden on HRM public property, contact your local Recreation Area Coordinator (see application) or call 490-6666.
For information on how to form a non-profit society, information on volunteer training opportunities, or information on various community grants please contact our Volunteer Resource Centre at 490- 4599 or HRMVolunteerServices@halifax.ca