Spray-painted on the boarded-up windows of the closed-down Queen Elizabeth High School is a question: “What’s the big idea?”

In a conference room at the nearby Atlantica Hotel yesterday, about 100 people gathered to figure out an answer to that question.

Capital Health held the public consultation to get community feedback on how best to use the QEH land.

Demolition of the school building, which has sat vacant since 2007, is scheduled to begin in December. The 2.5 acres of land is earmarked for a future expansion of the hospital.

But Capital Health has floated the idea that, in the intervening five years, the land should be used as an urban farm.

Area Coun. Jennifer Watts, who was on hand for the consultation, along with her downtown counterpart Dawn Sloane, said the farm could serve as a model for how to make use of the city’s vacant lots.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to educate,” agreed Brian Rankine, Capital Health’s business development director.

“Hopefully it will encourage others to look at land use. (Halifax does) have a lot of vacant land. Why don’t we put it to use?”

Rankine said feedback on the urban farm idea has been overwhelmingly positive, with the exception of some staff who would prefer to see increased parking infrastructure near the hospital.