In the early morning (7:30 AM) of June 19th, a plethora of volunteers met beneath a rain resistant tent at Common Roots Urban Farm (CRUF); at their avail were a selection of egg muffins, juices and coffee supplied through Jane’s of Halifax. With rain on the horizon, this group, along with organizers from Fiskars and Canadian tire embarked upon an incredible task to build a new entity at CRUF. Filled with ambition and excitement, the group helped a crew from Fiskars to construct a variety of new raised beds in conjunction with a shading canopy, wheel-chair accessible plots, as well as ten community plots open to members of the public with an interest in gardening.
Surprisingly, the projected time of completion for the Fiskars build was set for the mid afternoon; however, the CRUF community and all other groups involved boasted an amazing work ethic and finished the structures with time to spare. Thus, with a myriad of volunteers on site, members of the volunteer group were able to help build additional market beds and aid in the preparation of other community plots already on the farm.
Some of the excellent facilitation skills illustrated by Fiskars was the separation of volunteers into distinct groups with group leaders to help navigate the construction pieces. Soon to follow, were periodic updates as a group to help organizers and volunteers gauge what the project had become and where it was headed at various stages. Lastly, it was the vast availability of tools, people and the constructive dissemination of tasks that truly made this day an example of the spirit at CRUF.
Having taken part in the build that day, I noted an ardour-like warmth that conquered the misty weather, one which had been shared by all those in attendance. Aside from the delicious food, the hilarity of the day and the incredible conversations had, I was profoundly thrilled to see such a large build work so efficiently and smoothly. As the sun began to relieve itself of the clouds, visitors stopped in for a pause at the new benches built on site. These resting places in and of themselves, are imperative to great conversations and incubators of learning that can be created at community gardens. Not only do these benches help to create a welcoming space, but they also allow for a place to relax and reflect close to the local hospital and away from the adjacent traffic.