Common Roots Urban Farm

2010-Present (On-going)

Partners: Partners for Care, Capital Health

The lands of the now demolished Queen Elizabeth High School, adjacent to the intersection of Quinpool Road, Robie Street, Bell Road, and Cogswell Street, were given to Capital Health to accommodate possible future growth of hospital facilities. Capital Health, through Partners for Care, decided to find an interim community use for the site with a strong connection to health. In 2010, the Cities & Environment Unit initiated broad community engagement to plan, design, and build the project through six engagement sessions. It became evident there was broad community consensus that the site should be an urban farm connected to the hospital and bring together a range of social, cultural, agricultural and educational community networks.

The Cities & Environment Unit was retained to lead the urban farm final design process for Partners for Care. Public design sessions included brainstorming, modelling, and drawing exercises, with the collectively developed themes and principles utilized to inform the final design.

The plan for the urban farm sees the site as providing significant benefits to the broader community. As such, the design incorporates accessibility and connectivity into the urban farm. The urban farm is a hybrid-garden, providing a variety of plot types and gardens, such as educational, productive, community, and therapeutic gardens. The site design also promotes community gathering and collaboration programmatically through an entry plaza, gathering space and marketplace.

Partners for Care, the Cities & Environment Unit, and numerous community groups and volunteers have provided feedback on the design, and are currently engaged in the development and implementation of the urban farm. The summer of 2012 marked the first open season for the Common Roots Urban Farm.