The community garden was developed in 2012 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children (NSHCC). The NSHCC had a farm along with the buildings in which the residents were housed and educated. The Home’s farming operation held a high priority during the early years. The farm occupied approximately 20 acres of the Home’s land. Agriculture played a two-fold role in the development of the Home: it allowed the institution a degree of self-sufficiency in food production, and the sale of surplus produce provided a source of income.
Peas constituted the major cash crop of the farm. In 1928 the Home marketed a 1000 bushels of potatoes, turnips, beets, carrots and parsnips. Hundreds of chickens were also raised and sent to market along with the eggs they laid. A small herd of cows provided the milk the Home used. In later years, under the guidance of Dr. Melville Cumming, President, aka “Mr. Agriculture”, the Home prospered as a commercial farming outlet and placement centre for agricultural students, who worked the fields along side of the older residents.
The Old Home Garden
By 1931…strawberry and raspberry bushes flourished on the Home’s grounds, as well as livestock which included cattle, poultry and swine. The farm’s initial importance as a means of income and a source of economic independence for the NSHCC continued throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Under the stewardship of Ross Kinney and Melville Cumming, the farm generated tens of thousands of dollars per year. Dr. Cumming was associated with the farm since 1932. He was the first Principal of the NS Agricultural College, a position he held for 42 years. By the 1950s, the farm had expanded to 70 acres of land. All the food that came from the NSHCC was inspected by Canada Packers. If a shipment did not meet standard requirements, a note would be held for Kinney with instructions concerning the disposal of the goods. By 1958 the farm represented the Home’s hight point as a self-contained institution. Yet less than a decade later, the commercial farming operation was consigned to history.
In 2012 marking the 90th year for the NSHCC, the heightened awareness and need for healthy eating, the Property Committee implemented the Old Home Community Garden. The goals for the garden are to:
Enhance community outreach
- Assist local food banks
- Assist in the development of entrepreneurship skills of local residents
- Encourage healthy lifestyles
- Recognize the historic significance of the Old Home Garden
The Board of the NSHCC is pleased provide this community service and appreciates the support that has been provided.
[excerpts on the Old Farm taken from the Share and Care book by Charles R. Saunders – 1998]