Common Roots Urban Farm celebrates increased accessibility and inclusivity with official opening of Rick Hansen Healing Garden in Halifax

HALIFAX, N.S. – Nova Scotia Legislature Speaker of the House Kevin Murphy officially opened the Rick Hansen Healing Garden Friday at Common Roots Urban Farm, making the occasion by planting a ceremonial flower in a wheelchair-accessible garden bed.

The opening ceremony of this Barrier Buster project also included remarks and support from Government of Canada Senator Daniel Christmas, Rick Hansen Foundation Ambassador Mark Hobbs, Nova Scotia Minister of Justice Mark Furey, Halifax Regional Municipality Mayor Mike Savage, community gardeners Gerry Post and Milena Khazanavicius, as well as Partners for Care Executive Director Jane Davies.

Common Roots Urban Farm received an Access4All grant of $28,855 from the Rick Hansen Foundation for its Barrier Buster project. This new funding has enabled the expansion of the farm’s Healing Garden, a public park-like area used by hospital patients, families, gardeners, staff, and visitors. It’s also a place where community members with mobility issues can garden in a supportive setting.

 “Today, we are celebrating the breaking down of barriers. Common Roots Urban Farm and its sister farm Back To Our Roots, on the Nova Scotia Hospital site, are thriving because they break down barriers every day for so many in our community, our patients, new Canadians, seniors, those dealing with food insecurity and many more,“ Partners for Care Executive Director Jane Davies said.

Common Roots Urban Farm volunteer and disabled gardener Gerry Post, who is also Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Accessibility Directorate, agreed “it's wonderful to receive the support from the Rick Hansen Foundation and many others to make our Common Roots one of the most inclusive places in Nova Scotia.”

“The project will increase the awareness of wheelchair users and the blind as active participants in our community,” Post said. “Being a Barrier Buster will increase awareness throughout Halifax for accessible community gardening as a healthy lifestyle choice, and serve as a showcase that will encourage other public open spaces to consider removing the barriers to healthy lifestyles.”

Common Roots was the only urban farm in Canada to receive a grant for a Barrier Buster project. The funding is made possible by The Rick Hansen Foundation Access4All Canada 150 Signature Project, supported by the Government of Canada.

-30-

For more information, please contact:

Nicola Parker, Common Roots Urban Farm, Cell: (902) 471-6538
nicolaparker@mac.com  

Kristen Lipscombe
Senior Advisor, Media Relations
Cell: (902) 478-9736
Provincial Media Line: 1-844-483-3344
kristen.lipscombe@nshealth.ca
www.nshealth.ca

About theAccess4All program
On this upcoming milestone of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, and with support from the Government of Canada, the Rick Hansen Foundation invited schools and community groups to learn more about accessibility, identify barriers, and apply for grants of up to $30,000 to undertake and celebrate accessibility infrastructure improvements in public places and spaces.   
For more information on Rick Hansen’s Access4All program, please visit www.rickhansen.com/access4all

About the Canada 150 Signature Project
Canada’s 150th is an opportunity to celebrate the values of our great country with pride: values such as inclusion, diversity, compassion and access for everyone. As we celebrate these values, it’s also important that we create lasting impact. Together, we can create an accessible Canada and leave a lasting legacy for our country’s 150th. For more information on the Canada 150 Signature Project, please visit http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1468262573081

About Common Roots Urban Farm
Common Roots Urban Farm (CRUF) is a community farm and a piece of health infrastructure located at one of the busiest intersections in downtown Halifax, and on the grounds of one of Nova Scotia’s largest hospitals. It includes 185 community garden plots, common areas for everyone to relax in and nibble from, an accessible healing garden, and a market garden where volunteer newcomers work to grow over 2500 pounds of food and flowers annually for sale and for donation to the local food bank.  CRUF is managed by Partners for Care (PFC). PFC’s operates several social enterprises on behalf of Nova Scotia Health Authority.

About Nova Scotia Health Authority
Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) provides health services to Nova Scotians and a wide array of specialized services to Maritimers and Atlantic Canadians. NSHA operates hospitals, health centres and community-based programs across the province. Our team of health professionals includes employees, doctors, researchers, learners and volunteers. We work in partnership with community groups, schools, governments, foundations and auxiliaries and community health boards. Visit www.nshealth.ca for more.