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]
Farm your Own Akoma Plot.
In an effort to continue the history of gardening and farming that was a part of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children (NSHCC) a vibrant community garden was established in honour of the 90th anniversary of the NSHCC. Akoma provides the community with an opportunity to take part by making available low-cost community garden plots for your use! Each plot is 13’ x 25’ and costs only $75 to grow in ($25 will be refunded to you in the Fall if you clear your plot at the end of the season). Holding a plot gives you and your family the opportunity to harvest, not only plants, but education as well. It’s not too late to reap a harvest this year (especially if you plant with what we’ve already started growing in our Greenhouse).
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get your plot today!
Purchase Akoma Grown Plants
All purchases benefit the Cumming Community Garden (named after Dr. Melville Cumming who was a long time board member of the NSHCC, worked at the Truro Agricultural School, therefore many students conducted their placement at the Home. Dr. Cumming was also known as Dr. Agriculture. Everything from the Hydroponic Garden to the Greenhouse is grown with lots of love and without any pesticides.
The hydroponic farm produces high-quality edible flowers and basil. Visit us on Instagram or Facebook @akomahydroponicgarden to see pricing and to request an order.
We sell an assortment of herb, vegetable, and flower plants out of our greenhouse every Saturday from 10-2pm. If you are starting your garden a little late this summer, or want plants that are almost ripe for harvest, this is the perfect time and place to get them.