Burlington Area Community Gardens
VCGN works closely with the Burlington Department of Parks Recreation & Waterfront and its Burlington Area Community Gardens program, which manages the city’s 14 community gardens, including two neighborhood gardens in partnership with Grow Team O.N.E.
To register for a Burlington Area Community Gardens plot, call (802) 864-0123. Plot fees range from $15-$60, depending on the size. The seasonal fee includes BACG membership; The BACG eNews, water access, spring and fall site preparation, invitations to garden gatherings, and an opportunity to meet other gardeners in your area. Depending on the weather plots open for planting in early May and close in mid-October. Special rates and free seeds are available to those with limited incomes; to apply for scholarship, contact Chittenden Community Action at 863-6248.
Click here for more information about the city’s community garden program and garden education partnerships.
Family Gardening Program with the Visiting Nurses Association’s Family Room Garden
We continue to strengthen our partnership with the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) Family Room to offer garden-based programming for parents and children involved with the Family Room Garden at the Ethan Allen Homestead. Now in its third year, the 2015 program was co-facilitated by VCGN Garden Education Specialist, Carolina Lukac, and Garden Education Intern, Claire Madden, who led weekly hands-on activities from May through August. One of the highlights of this year included designing three “World Heritage Garden” plots to grow crops traditionally found in the cuisine from the native regions of the Family Room’s immigrant community.
The goals of this partnership are to:
- Engage in hands-on, family friendly gardening activities for adults and children of all ages.
- Develop skills and self-confidence to grow productive family gardens.
- Support new gardeners and refugee and immigrant gardeners who are often expert farmers but are new to this climate and soil.
- Maintain a children’s garden that allows for nature-based exploration and discovery in a safe and stimulating environment.
- Encourage garden-based activities that are intergenerational and cross-cultural.
- Develop healthy eating habits and food preservation skills through nutrition and cooking activities.
Horticultural Therapy Program with HANDS (Helping and Nurturing Diverse Seniors) at the Ethan Allen Residence
In 2014, our partnership with HANDS invited us to expand the garden at the Ethan Allen Residence to make it more accessible for seniors. We installed two raised beds and VCGN Intern Maggie Callahan led weekly activities with residents. The focus of the program’s second year has evolved towards developing a horticultural therapy program to empower seniors through gardening activities that enhance quality of life and health. During the 2015 summer gardening season, VCGN Garden Educators Carolina and Claire engaged residents in garden-based activities to meet their physical, cognitive, emotional and social needs. Activities included making floral arrangements with flowers and herbs harvested in the garden, preparing herb spreads the old fashioned way (making butter in a jar and pesto using a mortar and pestle), painting garden flags, and taste testing kale smoothies. The social interactions, daily exercise, memory recollection and sensory stimulation offered by this program has encouraged VCGN and HANDS to search out further opportunities for exploring the therapeutic benefits of gardening with seniors.
Burlington School Food Project
Burlington School Food Project (BSFP) offers wholesome, fresh and nutritious food daily to more than 4,000 students in the Burlington School District. BSFP provides support for the district’s gardens, manages the youth farms at Hunt Middle School and Burlington High School, and offers school-based garden education programs. BSFP took on full management of the Healthy City Youth Farm at Hunt Middle School in 2013. The Healthy City program, which started at the Intervale in 2002 as a summer employment and life-skills training program for at-risk youth, moved to the Vermont Community Garden Network (formerly Friends of Burlington Gardens) in 2009. This move brought the Youth Farm onto school grounds, which dramatically increased curriculum connections and strengthened institutional support for school garden activities in the district. We are grateful for all the staff, volunteers, funders, business sponsors, individual donors, and community members who helped the Healthy City program grow and evolve into what it is today – fully integrated in the Burlington School District and part of the coordinated efforts of Burlington School Food Project and its partners. VCGN continues to be a resource for the city’s school gardens and is proud to partner with BSFP to increase the impact of school gardens in the community. Thanks to funding from a USDA Farm-to-School grant, BSFP is working with VCGN over a two year period (2016-2017) to provide funding and planning support for Burlington school gardens, including award funds, technical support and spring garden leader workshops.
New Farms for New Americans (AALV) Partnership
In 2014, VCGN worked with New Farms for New Americans, a program of AALV, to develop a new community garden site at the Winooski Valley Park District in Burlington. The social enterprise and agricultural training program has evolving to meet the needs of a diverse community of Somali, West African, Bhutanese, Nepali, and Vietnamese gardeners. There is an increased interest in personal growing space and the city’s community garden system is already at capacity. VCGN helped NFNA develop a 63-site community garden and create specialized garden guidelines and site coordinator job descriptions.