City taking steps to promote community gardens - Metro US

City taking steps to promote community gardens

Halifax regional council unanimously agreed last night that community gardens are a good thing.

Community Relations and Cultural Affairs spokesman Lee Moore presented a report to council concerning steps taken by staff in order to promote community gardening in HRM. The report was initially delivered to council in October 2009, but Connaught-Quinpool Coun. Jennifer Watts added it to last night’s agenda as gardening season approaches.

“(The report) was sort of buried in the back of a long council session (in October),” said Watts. “It seemed like a good opportunity, just as we’re getting back into gardening season … to give that a bit of a profile, have staff offer an opportunity to present that to council and to have some discussion about it.”

Watts said city staff have been working to establish a clear and uniform system to handle requests for new community gardens, and to use more HRM land for that purpose.

“There’s a greater co-ordination that has happened over the last three or four months of many different departments looking at how to support (community gardens),” said Watts.

“I think it’s a more transparent process, and more accessible.”

A community garden is defined in the report as any public land where a non-profit society operates a small-scale garden of fruit, vegetables, flowers or herbs. The report states operational procedures must strive to increase opportunities to beautify neighbourhoods, provide access to community gardens for interested citizens and encourage sustainability.

Watts said some existing members of community gardens may be turned off by the stricter structure, but is confident the city’s initiatives will be good for community gardens.

“I think that staff are quite committed to seeing this happen and are willing to work with groups to help them work through this process,” said Watts.

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