HALIFAX – Urban gardening is by no means a new concept in Halifax. In fact the first time I remember hearing about urban gardening was in 2005 during my second year at Dahousie. The Gazette — Dal’s free weekly — was covering a new urban garden on campus for students to plot, till, plant, weed and pluck. Unfortunately, the article left little information about where the garden was actually located and even less on how Dal students could get involved. Luckily Jackie Davis, a volunteer with the Ecology Action Centre’s Food Action Committee is looking to change that with a new urban gardening mapping website.
According to Davis, Halifax LandShare — the now two year old EAC hosted website — is essentially a classified listing of people looking for garden space and available urban gardens located primarily on urban HRM. Davis further explains that with so little usable agricultural land on the peninsula, LandShare is really geared towards connecting people who are interested in food production with individuals open minded enough to host a garden. Overall, this fits under the larger umbrella of the EAC’s Food Action Committee which is working towards several main goals including: maintaining sustainable food production, reconnecting people with nature, preserving traditional gardening techniques, and fostering greener communities.
Although a few other Halifax based urban gardening websites exist, Davis hopes that urban gardeners and garden owners come together to better promote shared gardening. However, some immediate requirements need to be addressed. With less than 12 gardens on the LandShare database right now, and a major demand for more space, LandShare and the Food Action Committee are looking for individuals who own land who are open to sharing it with others. With other LandShare organizers moving on, Davis also indicates that succession training is also something that is on her mind.
Food security is on the lips of many environmentalists and concerned citizens alike. With less positive socialization going on between community members however, urban gardening and LandShare might be a unique way to address food security and promote community socialization at the same time.