What’s Growing at the Acadia Community Farm
By Sarah Boudreau, Acadia Community Farm Coordinator
and Jodie Noiles, Acadia Sustainability Coordinator
At the Acadia Community Farm we are growing gardeners and community!
From Acadia’s inception until the mid-1950s there was a working farm on the campus, with livestock, fruit and vegetables grown for the dining hall. Many Acadia students worked on the farm in exchange for room and board. Over time as the Acadia population grew, land was required for new buildings and the farm was no longer viable, closing in 1956.
In 2008, after learning of the original farm and the role students played in growing food for campus, students Alex Redfield and Hillary Barter asked Acadia for a plot of land for a new farm garden. They envisioned a place where students could once again grow good food for the university dining hall, and where they could work and learn alongside faculty, friends, and neighbours in a community garden. The university agreed, and the Acadia Community Farm was established!
Over the past eleven years the Acadia Farm has grown and throughout the season there are over 200 people involved in the farm, including many students completing fieldwork, research, and service learning projects as part of their studies at Acadia. In addition to Acadia students, the farm also welcomes gardeners from the community, including groups such as Take It Outside Girls, L’Arche Homefires, Conway Workshop Association, Horton High School, Wolfville School, Wolfville Earth Leadership Camps, many local residents, and recently several refugee families, all growing food, connecting with the earth, and the people around them.
The Take It Outside Girls are our newest gardeners. This enthusiastic group of girls, ranging in age from 12-18, are learning how to grow food and also becoming empowered through outdoor adventure, community-building, and leadership experiences. This program is part of the Nova Scotia Sea School and is led by Kate Webber and Adrien Rawley.
Everyone has something to offer the Acadia Farm community and it is through shared experiences that we grow. The Take It Outside Girls bring creativity and youthful energy. Our refugee families bring an immense amount of knowledge to the garden from their previous farming experience. The Conway Workshop Association and L’Arche groups brought us new perspectives on inclusivity in gardening and were able to build the knowledge needed to allow them to create their own community garden. Finally, our long-time community gardeners, many of whom have been involved since 2008, bring knowledge and continuity to the farm.
Get involved in your community this summer through gardening, share your knowledge, learn something new, and grow good food and friends! Drop in to the Acadia Community Farm this season from May to October or visit acadiafarm.org or sustainability.acadiau.ca to learn more.
The Acadia Community Farm has been growing community with the continued support of Acadia University as well as partners such as Chartwells, the Acadia Students’ Union, the Town of Wolfville, Friends of Agriculture Nova Scotia, and Service Canada.