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Yarmouth twins donate $2,000 to community garden

YARMOUTH - When it came time for entrepreneurial twins Vanessa Fells and Melissa Fells-Adams to donate $2,000 of their earnings from the sale of T-shirts they designed and marketed, the choice wasn’t difficult. They selected an organization with roots - lots of roots - in their own town, Yarmouth.

The South End Youth Community Garden has been operating since 2010, with about 50 to 60 youth benefitting from gardening instruction and marketing their crops over that time.

South End Youth Community Garden coordinator Chuck Smith with Vanessa Fells, who is wearing a T-shirt similar to one she and her sister, Melissa Fells-Adams, designed and marketed. The sisters donated $2,000 from sales of their T-shirts to the community garden recently.

Vanessa Fells says they wanted to pick an organization that reflected a lot of the African Nova Scotian youth in town.

“There weren’t very many (organizations),” she said.

“I know that a lot of our youth have been a part of this program for many years and that Chuck (Smith) does a lot of great work with those kids. We thought that was a perfect place for the money to go to because then it would be helping not only our youth but all youth in general.”

Vanessa says they wanted to develop the T-shirt design as a black history and art piece, with African Nova Scotian history on it.

“We thought that would start a conversation.”

Watering time at the South End Youth Community Garden.

 “Originally we had made 200. Most of those sold, so part of the proceeds went towards paying for the T-shirts and the rest of the proceeds came here.”

The sisters are continuing to sell the T-shirts through their Facebook pages and have sold them as far away as South Carolina, Ontario and throughout Nova Scotia.

Smith says the monetary gift is “totally amazing.”

“It will be used for more tools and seeds for next year and the youths’ stipend,” he said.

The youths receive a percentage from the sale of the vegetables they sell as well as a stipend.

This year, seven youths participated in the garden project. Youth workshops pertaining to business, nutrition, agricultural/vegetable gardening, African culture and an introduction to farmers’ markets have been held in the past as part of the program as well as tours of local gardens and farms.

Volunteer gardeners Julie Chandler and Bill Rose assisted with teaching the young growers.

South End Youth Community Garden gardening coach Rekha Menon

The youth are now selling their vegetables at the Yarmouth Farmers’ Community Market on Saturday mornings.

Smith says the garden will soon continue to serve another purpose through the Second Chance For Better Futures project. The program was launched in early August by the Health Association of African Canadians and introduces ex-offenders to gardening as an entrepreneurial option.

To purchase t-shirts

To purchase a T-shirt ($25) contact the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre ((902) 875-1310, or Melissa Fells-Adams at 902-749-3006 or by email

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