Halifax Ironworkers Help Community Greenhouse Grow to Fruition

As builders of Canadian communities since the late 1800s, ironworkers understand the value of safe, strong spaces. They also understand the importance of giving back to the communities they work in.

That’s why Local 752 ironworkers in Halifax, Nova Scotia joined Build Right Nova Scotia. And that’s why together, they built a greenhouse for a local community group.

Build Right Nova Scotia is a coalition of more than 14,000 unionized contractors and tradespeople. Their cooperative mission is to ensure that building projects across the province are done right — safely, up to code, by talented workers who receive fair wages and benefits. It’s a mission with values that Canada’s Professional Ironworkers uphold in their own work.

In 2014, Build Right Nova Scotia caught wind of Hope Blooms — a not-for-profit community outreach program for at-risk youth in Halifax. Founded in 2008 by Jessie Jollymore, a community dietician, the group teaches leadership and confidence skills by creating sustainable food sources for its community.

Hope Blooms received national attention after appearing on Dragons Den, looking for a loan to build a greenhouse that would support its burgeoning business — a line of organic salad dressings made from the herbs and vegetables they grow. They walked away with $40,000 — no strings attached — for the build. That’s when Build Right Nova Scotia dove in.

They offered to build a state-of-the-art greenhouse, sponsoring the labour and supplies. Ironworkers, along with other members of Build Right, helped bring the project to fruition. The generous donation meant that Hope Blooms got to keep the $40,000 from Dragons Den, using it to launch a scholarship fund instead.

“These kids make salad dressings to sell at farmers markets. They want to expand, and we’re ecstatic that we have gotten to give back in such a meaningful way,” said John Wilson, business manager of Local 752. “We have to give back to our community. It’s a hand up, not a hand out.”