Nova Scotia group grows violas and greens in container farm

Inside a converted shipping container in Cherry Brook, Nova Scotia, a hydroponic garden is growing fresh produce and teaching young people about horticulture.

Joshua Williams, who grew up in a farming family, says he jumped at the chance to be at the helm of something new. “I’ve always heard the stories from like my mom and my aunts and uncles on the farm,” said Williams. “To see it this way, like to be doing it in a different way, is interesting to me. Because I always wanted to tap into that side of things.”

It might not look high-tech on the outside, but inside the Akoma Hydroponic Garden’s shipping container is what some are calling the future face of agriculture.

Rows of string lights hung from the ceiling replicate the sun – allowing plants to grow every day of the year. “The amazing thing is the violas that we have. We could harvest those today, come back tomorrow, and they would be bloomed to as many as there was before,” said Williams.

But the project is not just about business. The vice president of Akoma Holdings, the group that runs the garden, says it gives members in the Black community an opportunity to learn something new. “Often, what we see is the other side of what our Black youths are doing,” said Jason Jackson. “This is a positive story, and we need to highlight these stories.”

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