Jessie Jollymore

Jessie Jollymore

Executive Director, Hope Blooms | Halifax, N.S.

I’ve always thought that when you change the way you look at things—the things you look at change.

Something spoke to me

One day I was walking by an abandoned piece of land in an inner city community in Halifax. It was supposed to be a community garden—the local government had provided funding for it, but the program had failed. Something spoke to me. I thought, ‘This is the spot that’s going to flourish, and it’s going to thrive through children working and gardening together. We’re going to grow healthy foods here and bring them home to their families. We’re going to learn how to cook the food too.’

It’s now nine years later and there’s a thriving community garden located in the same space. When the Hope Blooms greenhouse program started, eight children were enrolled in the program. Today, over 53 children have been through the program.

We grow more than 3,000 lbs of food annually and the kids take most of it home for their families. We host community suppers and summer film nights. What’s really cool is that we now also make and sell salad dressing using herbs grown in the garden. Through their experiences, the kids are growing up to be leaders.

We chose not to be connected to the grid

Inner cities and green energy don’t often go together—but these kids see this land as sacred and respect it. One of our program graduates designed our greenhouse after receiving design training and doing his own research. When planning the greenhouse, we chose not to be connected to the grid. We are thankful for the support we received from the Bullfrog community for the solar panels on the roof that power our facility with 100% green energy and love that we’ve become an example for other communities to follow!

It takes a child to raise a village

When children have lived through generations of poverty, they don’t know what it’s like to give back because they’re always on the end of receiving. When they become the providers themselves, now that’s a game changer. The young man who designed the greenhouse gets to wake up and see his creation every day. Soon, he will be leaving us to attend an Ivy League university in the U.S. where he’s received a full scholarship for an architecture program.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but we say it takes a child to raise a village. We believe that growing food in the inner city—and now promoting green energy—are some of the most disruptive things you can do.

Hope Blooms operates a community garden in Halifax, featuring a youth-designed greenhouse, which was built through the support of Arlene Dickinson (Dragon’s Den). Yields from the garden and greenhouse are used to produce salad dressing sold through local farmers markets, with the proceeds supporting educational programs and scholarships. Through Bullfrog Power’s support, the greenhouse is powered by 100% renewable energy via a 3.1 kilowatt solar array and battery backup system.

Learn more about the Hope Blooms solar project.

About Currents of Change

Currents of Change are portraits, thoughts and ideas from Canadians helping to transform the energy landscape through renewable energy. Bullfrog profiles changemakers who are creating powerful currents in their communities. Those featured have either helped build a green energy project, financially supported by the bullfrogpowered community, or they are a member of the bullfrogpowered community, supporting green energy projects across Canada.

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