The Vermont Community Garden Network (formerly Friends of Burlington Gardens) leads the state’s community garden movement by educating, supporting and connecting garden leaders. We believe in the power of people growing food together to strengthen food security and build community.
Our mission is to support and grow the state’s vibrant network of community and school gardens.
Quite simply, VCGN would like to make sure that every Vermonter has access to the space and resources to grow their own food in community, and the information and support needed to be successful.
- We want every child to have access to fresh, healthy food, to know where their food comes from, and learn food production and preparation skills that they will use their whole lives.
- We want to connect and support the state’s network of garden leaders and educators while testing and modeling replicable community-based gardening programming with an emphasis on food-insecure populations.
- We want a garden in every Vermont community.
Established in 2001, VCGN has helped start and sustain hundreds of gardens all over Vermont and has connected thousands of children, teens, and adults to fresh, healthy food and sustainable food production practices. (This work has strong roots in Vermont’s community garden history. Learn more here.)
VCGN provides hands-on garden education for youth and adults in Burlington and training, technical assistance, resources, and networking opportunities for garden leaders across the state. Our work is rooted in the understanding that community and school gardens have food security, health, social, economic, and environmental benefits.
This work is closely tied to the larger statewide and regional discussions about how we feed ourselves. Garden education provides essential skills that people need to be active participants in the food system – to be producers, not just consumers. The results of growing food in community are impressive: neighbors develop friendships and support systems, children try (and like!) new foods, people of all ages gain new awareness of environmental issues, and neglected land is transformed into productive space that provides fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables.
The produce from community and school gardens goes directly onto family tables and school lunch trays. But the impact goes far beyond these fresh vegetables and fruit, which may represent just a percentage of the total food consumed. Learning about where food comes from and taking part in growing and sharing it fundamentally changes how youth and adults perceive – and value – food. This type of community-based food production positively influences lifestyle and purchasing decisions and can enhance appreciation for the environment, farmers and the greater food system.
Creating and growing strong garden communities – whether they be in neighborhoods, schools, social service sites, or workplaces – is part of the systemic change necessary to transform our food system.
Our hands-on programming and support for garden communities have direct impacts on health, food security, and local community development.
The Vermont Community Garden Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We are grateful for the incredible support and contributions from staff, board members, volunteers, individual donors, funders, and the business community. You can join this movement and support our important work with garden communities all over the state. Donate now.