Community Teaching Garden

Registration for the 2018 season opens in December!  

Please email carolina@vcgn.org to be placed on our wait list.

Students harvest cabbage and then learn how to make sauerkraut during class

The Community Teaching Garden (CTG) is a hands-on, adult beginner organic gardening course.  Participants learn how to plant, cultivate, harvest, and preserve produce from their own plot and from shared garden space in a cooperative learning environment.  The 22-week long course follows the rhythm of the growing season from May to October.  Class is held twice a week at our garden site, at the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington.

For the 2017 growing season we will be offering an advanced course for CTG graduates interested in refining their gardening skills, deepening their understanding of garden-related topics, and continuing to grow food in a supportive community.  The advanced course will be offered once a week at our Tommy Thompson garden site.  If you are a CTG graduate and would like to know more information about the advanced course, please email carolina@vcgn.org

What we offer

  • Weekly class instruction in a hands-on, cooperative and fun learning environment
  • Each student is assigned an 80 square foot individual plot to maintain throughout the course
  • Shared garden space is available for select vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers
  • Seeds, plants, compost, tools, and all the equipment and supplies you might need
  • A copy of The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible and many other educational resources that will be used as references
  • Special guest talks on specific garden topics, field trips to other unique garden sites, and monthly potlucks
  • At the end of the course, all students receive a VCGN Community Teaching Garden graduate certificate
  • With the program running for 22 weeks, there is lots of time to learn, make friends, and enjoy all the delicious fresh produce you can grow and eat!

Dates, Hours, and Location

Class will be held twice a week on Monday and Thursday evenings, from May through October.  In late summer our start/end time shifts to compensate for less daylight hours.

From Monday, May 8 to Thursday, August 10 – class is from 6:00 to 8:00pm
From Monday, August 14 to Thursday, October 5 – class is from 5:30 to 7:00pm

The Ethan Allen Homestead is located in the New North End, accessible by car from Route 127 and by bicycle from the bike path.  Students often arrange to carpool or bike together.

Why participate?

The CTG course is designed for adults interested in learning all aspects on how to grow their own food in a fun, supportive, and cooperative learning environment.  First-time gardeners will learn the basics and gain practical, hands-on experience in growing a variety of edible plants in a small-scale organic garden. Individuals with some gardening experience will benefit from learning how to increase the productivity of their garden, deepen their understanding of garden ecology, and gain confidence in more advanced topics such as garden planning, identifying pests, and season extension.  Additionally, this is an extraordinary opportunity to grow a significant amount of fresh vegetables to supplement your diet or to share with your neighbors!  You will take home generous harvests during the peak of the growing season and even learn food preservation and simple herbal remedies to keep enjoying the harvest once the course is over.

The Community Teaching Garden Team

Carolina Lukac will be the Lead Teacher for the Community Teaching Garden in 2017.  Carolina works year-round with VCGN as the Garden Education Manager and coordinates several garden-based programs for children, adults, and seniors.  Her formal qualifications include: Permaculture Design Certificate (2006), Teaching Permaculture Creatively Certificate (2009), Holistic Healing and Traditional Herbalism training (2015), Master Gardener course (2016), and Biodynamic Agriculture 6-month distance learning course (in progress).  Prior to moving to Vermont in 2015, Carolina gardened year-round on rooftops and urban community gardens in Mexico City.  She co-founded the city’s first urban agriculture training center and spent the last 8 years facilitating hundreds of workshops on organic gardening and whole foods cooking for adults and children of diverse backgrounds.  Carolina believes that plants are our finest teachers and looks forward to facilitating opportunities for students to learn through the dynamic course design of the Community Teaching Garden.

The Lead Teacher will be joined by an Assistant to provide valuable logistical support, help document the course, and participate in garden maintenance chores.  Additionally, guest teachers are scheduled throughout the season to offer lessons in their area of expertise, including forest gardening, entomology, and community herbalism

Course Structure

The weekly rhythm of the CTG course includes instruction on the first class-day of the week and garden work with mentoring on the second class-day of the week (e.g. at the Ethan Allen Homestead garden, instruction is on Tuesdays and garden work with mentoring is on Thursdays).  On instruction days, the Lead Teacher shares a lesson on a specific garden-related topic.  A few classes are lecture-style lessons.  The majority of lessons are interactive, hands-on opportunities.  On garden work days, the Lead Teacher and/or interns guide activities to tend individual plots and shared garden space.

Community Teaching Garden 2010

“I appreciated being in a shared space — laughing, weeding, learning, and listening with a group of people who were giving it their best shot. There is something about gardening that can bring people together across a lot of communities that is pure joy.” – CTG Participant

A preview of topics covered during the CTG course includes: soil health, garden planning, vegetable varieties, crop rotation, proper watering, garden insects, disease prevention and treatment, weeds, tools, trellises, small scale composting, succession planting, perennials, herbs and flowers for food and medicine, harvest and storage, food preservation techniques, cover cropping, seed saving, and season extension.  The full week-by-week course content is shared with students on the first day of the course.

Every month there is a potluck gathering for students to spend informal time together and share favorite recipes featuring garden harvest.  Guest teachers and field trips are also scheduled on a monthly basis.  The full schedule of potlucks, field trips, and other special events is provided on the first day of the course.

To complement class time, the Lead Teacher suggests readings and provides links to websites and useful information throughout the duration of the course.  We encourage students to take advantage of all class time, special events, and resources shared in the unique setting of the cooperative learning environment of VCGN’s Community Teaching Garden.

Course Fee

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“We look at the produce that we purchase and consume in a whole different way! We have our own garden now. It’s something we will do forever.” – CTG Participant

The course fee is $500 *$450 early bird* for an individual full plot (~80 sq ft) and $450 *$420 early bird* for a pair-share plot (if you would like to share a bed with a friend, partner, or family member).  This covers 22 weeks of classes, use of individual plots and shared garden areas, seeds, plants, supplies, tools, a copy of The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, and all the veggies you can grow!

The course fee represents approximately half of the actual costs, thanks to the generosity of the Sid and Cecelia Lance Family Foundation, the Lattner Family Foundation, the Serena Foundation, and the Harris and Frances Block Foundation.  Limited income applicants may apply for additional scholarship assistance to cover a percentage of the CTG course fee thanks to the Frank Way Memorial Scholarship Fund and other community support.

Registration 

Please contact carolina@vcgn.org to confirm whether or not there is still space available to participate in the CTG course.  Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis – we highly recommend you register early to save your spot!
Early bird registration discounts apply for full payments completed before March 1.

If you have a question about the CTG course, please email carolina@vcgn.org 

 

Students often grow enough vegetables, especially leafy greens, to share with friends or donate to the food shelf

Maintaining a garden through the growing season is a large commitmentPlease consider whether you have time to commit to garden work weekly from May to October before submitting your registration.   We understand that summertime is a busy time for everyone and we remind you that tending a garden is a season-long commitment.  If you know ahead of time that you will be out of town for an entire week or more, we ask that you talk with the Lead Teacher for any special arrangements needed.

 

To learn more about the Community Teaching Garden program, check out the Community Teaching Garden blog and more videos

Questions?  Contact Carolina at carolina@vcgn.org or call (802) 861-4769.  

Trio #2

More Community Teaching Garden photos and videos:

CTG videos on YouTube
CTG Blog
Community Teaching Garden Alumni Story Project, Part I: Equal Parts Garden and Community
Community Teaching Garden Alumni Story Project, Part II: New Direction
Community Teaching Garden Alumni Story Project, Part III: Gardening for Life
2013 CTG photostory (pdf)
2011 CTG photo story (pdf)