New Waterford’s Town Farm Co-op Announces Funding for Grow @ Home Program
May 1, 2018 - New Waterford, Unama'ki (Cape Breton), Nova Scotia
In an effort to reduce the effects of poverty and build food security in New Waterford, Town Farm Co-op has received funding to run a Grow @ Home program during the 2018 growing season. The funding is part of the Nova Scotia government’s poverty reduction commitment and is run through the Departments of Communities, Culture, and Heritage and Community Services. Forty-nine projects are sharing $600,000 in the first year of the Building Vibrant Communities grants program.
“We’ll be guiding 15 families through a growing season,” says Nicole Dixon, executive director and operator of Town Farm. “There’s a learning curve to gardening and we want to make it easier for people to grow food in their yards.”
Families interested in partcipating must live in CBRM voting district 11 (New Waterford and area) on a fixed or lower income. Town Farm is accepting applications until Friday, May 25. Participants will receive everything they need to grow food at home: a raised bed, soil, compost, seeds, and seedlings, and materials to extend the growing season into fall and winter. As well, participants will attend workshops on growing, maintaining, harvesting, and preserving their food. They will also receive a discounted membership to the Cape Breton Food Hub, who, along with Gardiner Mine’s Blue Heron Farm, partnered with Town Farm on this project.
“Growing your own food is incredibly beneficial,” Dixon says. “Not only is it healthier and yummier and fresher, gardening is good for the body, mind, and soul. Plus, a home garden can greatly reduce a family’s grocery bills. It’s also fun to grow veggies you can’t get at Sobey’s, like yellow or black tomatoes and purple carrots and beans.”
Town Farm’s Grow @ Home program will benefit New Waterford, too. Dixon believes participants will become confident food growers who’ll inspire others to garden. Town Farm aims to foster a new community of growers, with gardens spreading from yard to yard, and even growing into vacant lots. This co-operative of gardens and growers will form the basis of a vibrant, sustainable, urban farm, which could in turn create a beautiful, more food secure community. “I can see Colliery Lands Park from my own backyard garden,” Dixon says. “And I always envision it as an urban farm. Imagine growing food where we once mined coal!”
Dixon takes inspiration from the urban farms popping up in Detroit, Michigan, where the car industry collapsed much like New Waterford’s coal industry. Urban farms are now revitalizing Detroit’s land and economy and Dixon believes the same could happen in New Waterford.
“There’s incredible abundance here. People think there’s nothing left but that’s far from true. We have an ocean, apple and cherry trees grow wild all over town. Food isn’t just limited to the grocery store. We can grow it, we can forage for it, and we can sell the excess to supplement our incomes. Everything we need to live a happy, healthy life is right here in town.”
About Town Farm
Town Farm Co-op is an urban farm and garden school that teaches natural farming, foraging, and fermenting in order to regenerate communities, build local food security, and foster a new generation of food producers. Town Farm is based in the former coal-mining town of New Waterford, on Unama’ki (Cape Breton Island), Nova Scotia and here, online.
Read the Nova Scotia Government’s news release.