Learning at the Garden
The Community Garden is a meeting place for the Mount Community and its neighbours, drawing its members from the University and the greater Halifax Regional Municipality. The unique functions of the garden – an outdoor classroom for university departments, a place to grow food for families and individuals, and a location of research for the academic community, has made the Mount Community Garden a vibrant and productive part of the University.
The garden consists of a Community Garden Coordinator, a Steering Committee made up of university staff, faculty and administration, and the gardeners and volunteers who participate in the project.
“I spent my first summer at the Mount Community Garden starting from the ground up, learning to spot a weed. For someone who had never done any outdoor gardening, this was harder than it sounds! As an apartment dweller with no yard or balcony, I would otherwise not have a space to grow my own food. Having the opportunity to connect to nature and get my hands dirty on my lunch breaks at the Mount Community Garden has been incredible. I’m lucky to be a member of a supportive community of growers, always generous with their knowledge and support.”
Mary Flynn, Community Member
I learned about the community garden last year and knew then I wanted to be part of it this year. I am new to gardening and I find everyone associated with the community garden very friendly and exceptionally helpful. You can definitely feel that this is a community. My goal of having a plot is to learn all I can, see things grow, of course enjoy the fruits of my labour and hopefully adapt better eating habits. Given all the support provided by Ryan, The Community Garden Coordinator, and the community garden’s participants it is hard not to want to be part of MSVU’s community garden.
Vanessa Risser, Community Member and Mount Employee
The community garden has become a living laboratory for students. Last summer undergraduate and graduate students planted and tended the garden. In the fall a NUTR 1102 lab was dedicated to the community garden. Students harvested and used veggies that had been growing throughout the summer months. Dietetic interns working at our Participatory Action Research and Training Centre on Food Security produced the Mount Saint Vincent Campus Community Garden Video. Once again this fall students in our NUTR 1102 course will be going to the garden, talking about local vegetables and herbs and their uses, digging up, snapping off or pulling out vegetables. They will then take their harvest down to the Foods Lab where they will evaluate the produce, talk about cooking methods, prepare and sample the locally grown produce. As Department Chair, it has been a great experience being involved in the planning and implementation of the Community Garden and especially seeing our students and faculty so interested and involved. The garden has proved to be a fantastic site for both learning and connections.”
Daphne Lordly, Chair AHN
“Supporting local and the concept of sustainability as it relates to food, are regular topics of conversation in the food-related courses within the Tourism and Hospitality Management Program. Growing and harvesting food from our Mount Community Garden for our lab courses offered in Vincent’s, our on-campus teaching kitchen, is as local as it gets! The Garden provides our students an opportunity learn about the benefits of growing your own food and the resulting impact on restaurant businesses and the local community.”
Paulette Cormier-MacBurnie, Department of Business & Tourism
“Having a plot at the Mount Community Garden helps me eat more fresh and delicious vegetables and encourages me to fit new and interesting vegetables in more meals, more often (I can’t waste my harvest!). Being able to see how the food I eat is grown, and especially growing it myself, gives me a unique insight in everything from food systems, food ecology, and nutrition. There’s a lot to learn from gardening, and the Mount Community Garden gives me that opportunity. My favourite part of the Mount Community Garden is sharing in the pleasure of gardening with others. I have learned so much from the other gardeners and being able to share a moment in the garden is always a pleasure. Being able to grow and eat some delicious tomatoes isn’t bad either!”
Daniel Nunes, Dietetics Student
“It gives me great joy as a member of the Mount Alumni to be back on my favourite campus and, as a retired teacher, to have a sense of renewed purpose through community gardening. It is a wonderful experience to meet other interested and like-minded people through this project… It made me think that this was what it would be like in `-the old barn building days’ – when whole families, or communities got together to build something of value for all.”
James Boyer, Community Member
“Being a part of the Mount Community Garden was an incredibly enriching experience. Through planting at the Mount Community Garden, I was able to discover new vegetables and learn more about the nutritional benefits of vegetables commonly grown in Nova Scotia. As a novice gardener, I was able to gain lots of gardening knowledge and skills from other gardeners.I’ve been inspired to try my hand at growing my own vegetables at home to increase my vegetable consumption and introduce more of a variety of vegetables into my diet. Not only has my experience at the Mount Community Garden been beneficial in terms of my knowledge on vegetables and their incorporation into my diet, it also helped me to foster a sense of belonging, fulfillment, and social inclusion through interactions amongst the community and through the planting of crops itself. Overall, my time at the Mount Community Garden is one that I value.”
Sarah Staples, Dietetics Student