The Urban Farm Museum Society of Spryfield is a small nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers with a volunteer board of 8 - 10 members and a membership of 50 - 75. Founded in 1996, we teach practical knowledge and methods appropriate for growing local food. The Urban Farm operates on 3.5 acres of land licensed from the Kidston Family and has turned an overgrown heritage farm field into productive vegetable and flower gardens.
Interested in researching traditional foodways in the area, the society produced a practical everyday cookbook in 2002 “Foods of Spry’s Field” now in its fourth printing. Recipes came from local residents, often passed down through the generations. In 2014, with financial support from United Way Halifax , the UFMSS produced a garden curriculum “Come Grow With Us - A Family Guide to Growing Vegetables.” The curriculum, based on lessons taught over a ten year period, form the basis for a weekly program taught to young families, youth and anyone who wishes to participate in learning to grow their own food. By promoting local and seasonal eating, the society is celebrating the past and helping to produce a healthy, safe food supply for the future. The Society’s Vegetable and Fruit planting guides have been translated into five languages - French, Arabic, Farsi, Mandarin and Spanish. Immigrant and refugee families are warmly welcomed at the Urban Farm and encouraged to share their skills and learn new ones.
The farm offers 12 family plots, 23 member’s plots, 18 market garden plots, 6 youth plots, a storage barn and “outhouse” bathroom facilities. Programs are offered to IWK Youth Mental Health Services, Autism Nova Scotia, Boys and Girls Club, a Youth Farming Group and local schools. The UFMSS has also partnered with Phoenix Youth and the YWCA in providing job placement and works with youth in the Restorative Justice program.
In addition to gardening programs, the UFMSS hosts a Seedy Saturday/Plant Sale in the spring, School Farm Day for students and seniors highlighting a visit with baby farm animals, Evenings in the Garden and a Strawberry Social in the summer and a Harvest Fair in the fall.
The UFMSS received the Bluenose Recreation Award and the first Lt. Gov. Intergenerational Award in 2007. Members have received HRM and Provincial Volunteer Awards.
In 2016, the UFMSS received a very generous gift of land from Ralph and Shirlee Medjuck for which the society is sincerely grateful. The 2.2 acres of “old growth forest” adjoining the farm’s present location will enable the society to expand their programs, such as the Forest School and to build a small heritage building and summer stable for baby farm animals. Sections of the land will be preserved and developed as nature paths for everyone in our community to enjoy.
In the spring of 2018, our UFMSS participated in an evaluation program through the Association of Nova Scotia Museums to receive Museum Accreditation - we scored a mark of 71.4 and will continue to strive for full Museum Accreditation.