Recently I’ve been trying to work on Councillors to begin to populate the wasted spaces in Metro/HRM in Nova Scotia to use as city edible landscaping. If we start now to seed and/or plant indigenous edible forage foods. The prospects are enormous.
In discussions Garry Jollymore (Preparedness Project Founder) commented : “You are on a good track proof is that some places have parks that have replaced ordinary trees with fruit trees. fruit trees produce beautiful flowers and take all the carbon from the atmosphere that any other tree would take and then offer up a delicious edible in the season. the trouble with this idea is that it will run afoul of Del Monte and the other corporate farmers that rule government policy.”
I responded : “However, I don't think Del Monte sells Sea Berries.”
“I did not know they grow here do you grow them?” said Mr. Jollymore.
I responded coming to my point of this motion “Yup, right in my front yard. They grow quick, spread easily, no pests so far, no fertilizer needed, are nitrogen fixing, heavy producers, grow anywhere and are a super food.”
They are also cold hardy- grown in Northern Europe and Russia. Canada has developed some new cultivars to produce more desirable attributes. The downside to these plants is the nasty thorns but some new cultivars have reduced the thorns, increased size and improved sweetness. The berries, are by their nature, quite tart but make great juice when sweetened. I have/will have 5 different cultivars.
Recently I took efforts to convey this to city council here in the HRM of Nova Scotia and reached out to Sam Austin. Sam is the councillor for Dartmouth Centre. He’s an urban planner whom ran for Council in 2016 on his platform to “help make Dartmouth and the Halifax Regional Municipality as a whole an even more amazing place to live, work and play”. Mr. Austin was re-elected for a second term in October 2020.
Here’s what I wrote to him:
Dear Mr. Austin:
I feel there is a great opportunity to greatly improve our edible landscape availability in Dartmouth and the greater HRM. I have a small plot of land on my property which is providing me with an opportunity to grow many varied species of fruit (mostly berries) with very little or no maintenance and only a modest initial investment. I would like to provide my time, expertise and plants to begin a pilot project (at no cost to the taxpayer) to show the viability of this "Agrihood" concept. The concept has 5 main benefits.:
1) A source of organic food for the general population (no pesticides or herbicides are required).
2) A source of food for birds.
3) Improvement of the soil.
4) Reduction of grassed areas (with a concurrent reduction in ongoing maintenance costs).
5) A community-based endeavour whereby the community can combine their skills and expertise to enrich and educate the community.
I would very much like for you to take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to drop by and see what I have accomplished thus far. Probably the Spring/ summer season would be the best time for a visit. I look forward to your reaction to this idea.
I was responded too with the following:
This sounds like a good thing you’re doing. HRM has had some experience in terms of edible landscaping. A variety of fruit and nut trees were planted on the Dartmouth Common a few years ago. They’ve settled in but will take some time yet before they really start to bear fruit. The berry bushes have been more successful. The municipality also makes land available for gardening in a variety of locations. In Dartmouth, there are community gardens at Victoria Park, Nova Scotia Hospital, Gaston Road, Rodney Road, Findlay Community Centre, and the Dartmouth Common. I have also had some interest from a lady in Dartmouth North about starting a garden in Northbrook Park.
The simplest thing for your project would probably be to attach to an existing garden, but you could apply to create a garden elsewhere. Maybe Brownlow Park since that’s close at hand?
I’m cc’ing Darren Hirtle in HRM Parks and Rec. Darren is a community developer and he works with a lot of our community gardens.
I’ll try to keep you up to date with any further developments!
- Geoff Aikens
If your interested in helping the Preparedness Project and don't feel comfortable donating via our Go-Fund Me Page this is one of the best ways to help the project grow and sustain itself.