Our Story

Today's Hayes Farm's story begins way, way back, before colonization and modern-day agriculture. Located at 577 Hillcrest Drive, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Hayes Farm is on traditional Wolastoqey territory. Land was never ceded nor surrendered under the 1725 Peace and Friendship Treaty between the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), Mi’kmaq, and Peskotomuhkati (Passamaquoddy) nations and the British Crown. The Peace and Friendship Treaties were a mutual promise to a commitment of respect and peace between nations and the Crown, and their future generations. As the future generations and current beneficiaries of these treaties, it is our responsibility to live honourably and peacefully with one another as sovereign nations, as well as with Mother Earth.

In the mid 1840's the original Hayes Farm house (some knew it as "Broad Acres') was built. It fulfilled family, community, and economic functions with dairy cattle, collie dogs, a kitchen garden, and horses. Mary Hayes, the last family resident of the farm house, passed away in 2015, expressing her wish that the land continue to be used for farming activities. 

Hayes Farm, circa 1955

A Seed is Planted

 

Enter NB Community Harvest Gardens (NBCHG). When Ian Robertson - Hayes family member and farm estate executor - and Edee Klee - NBCHG Co-Chair - met on that fateful day in November 2015, the stars aligned and the seed for today's iteration of Hayes Farm was planted.

The Hayes Farm project is the brainchild of a grassroots, volunteer-based non-profit - NB Community Harvest Gardens. Since 2010, NBCHG has been dedicated to creating accessible, inclusive and sustainable community gardens in Fredericton. The mission to “grow food, grow minds, and grow community” has been realized through our two flourishing community gardens, countless public workshops and events, our seasonal U-PICK-By-Donation, and our Seed Library program in partnership with the Fredericton Public Library. 

Over the years our gardeners have told us how much they appreciate all the mental, emotional and physical benefits of gardening – and often lament “if only I could make a living doing this.” So, spurred on by the fact that 95% of New Brunswick's food is imported and we currently have 116,000 acres of dormant farm land (2016 Census of Agriculture), a courageous few of us decided to put it out to the universe to see if there was a way to once again make small-scale regenerative farming a viable career option in New Brunswick.

NBCHG continues to be Hayes Farm's umbrella organization, and supports us endlessly with human resources, funding applications, governance, and more. 

In 2016, we conducted a feasibility study determining the need for a full-time learn-to-farm program in the Fredericton region. After almost 2 years of research and development, as well as extensive work preparing the land to be farmed, the pilot 30-week Regenerative 
Farming Certificate program was launched at the historic Hayes Farm site in the Devon

neighbourhood of Fredericton in April 2018. Now as we prepare for our 2020 growing season, our focus has broadened from teaching aspiring farmers how to make a meaningful living as a small-scale market gardener or "agri-preneur" to teaching all aspiring growers how to feed their communities, and how to reconnect with the land.

Hayes Farm, 2019

How to Start Your Community Farm

 

With this 'living handbook,' our aim is to openly share the guide with anyone who wants to start a community-based farm, or simply know what it took to get where we are today. In this document we have outlined the fundamentals so that you can learn from our experiences. Every community is different and every community farm will be different. We think, however, that you will find our example a useful starting point. We have done a lot of work to develop our program, and we hope that this handbook will mean that you don’t have to start from scratch!

 

Latest publication: Version 4, March 24, 2020

Look for new versions annually. 

Incredible Support

 

Since diving into the project in 2015, we have been generously funded by these organizations/departments:

And we couldn't have achieved our results to date without the support of these groups and organizations:

  • NB Community Harvest Gardens Inc. 

  • Under One Sky Friendship Centre

  • Multicultural Association of Fredericton

  • City of Fredericton

  • National Farmers Union in NB

  • Everdale

  • UNB Sustainability

  • UNB ForEM 4020

  • ACORN

  • and many, many more

is a project of 

which is recognized as a