Community Teaching Garden Alumni Story Project, Part II: New Direction

“While it was five years ago that John Peckham took the Community Teaching Garden class through the Vermont Community Garden Network, he speaks about the unforgettable experience that helped fuel lifestyle changes and the direction of his life.”johngarden (3)

John Peckham – Community Teaching Garden Alumnus, 2008

Written by Erin Anderson, 2013 Community Teaching Garden Intern

While it was five years ago that John Peckham took the Community Teaching Garden class through the Vermont Community Garden Network, he speaks about the unforgettable experience that helped fuel lifestyle changes and the direction of his life. Peckham’s enthusiasm for the environment and gardening with the Community Teaching Garden class is clear as he talks about taking the class with a great group of people that he remains in contact with today, and the knowledge gained surrounding gardening, and quality, local food.

Peckham’s lifestyle changes were emerging around the time he enrolled in the class but he attributes the summer with the Community Teaching Garden as the push he needed to make positive, lasting changes for himself. As he began growing his own vegetables, eating better and more sustainable food became an option. Also, his pre-existing appreciation for the outdoors was amplified by the time spent outside all summer at the Community Teaching Garden. Peckham says that the Community Teaching Garden pushed him to pursue his interests through higher education in Keene, New Hampshire where he is finishing up his Master’s degree in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England. The positive change that Peckham continues through his dedication to sustainability carries numerous possibilities for reaching communities, schools, and gardens.

While the Community Teaching Garden provided him with changes to benefit his own life, Peckham also took what he learned to aid others in their pursuits for a more sustainable lifestyle and future. Before beginning his studies Peckham was instrumental in starting the Taft Corners Community Garden in Williston where he was able to watch the garden and community grow over the course of three years. Peckham also helps his family members keep up with their garden by offering his knowledge gained in the Community Teaching Garden class, which he says helps “…validate the experience” he had with the Vermont Community Garden Network.

Peckham’s passion for community, gardening, and the environment shine through. It is clear that he has found his passion that will continue to be rewarding for himself for the rest of his life while also creating positive change that will spread far beyond the Community Teaching Garden, through his work in gardening, community-building, and sustainability efforts.