As Valentine's Day approaches, we send out garden love to everyone who plays a role in nourishing our communities. From fresh healthy vegetables, to educational opportunities, to multigenerational and intercultural connections, to environmental benefits, to simply having a space to gather with others, the state's gardens grow so much more than food. The joy, compassion and connections that take root in these special places can make a big difference in our communities and schools and the result of all these small local actions is real systems change! Check out some examples in VCGN's most recent IMPACT REPORT.
Thank you to everyone who supports this work to feed and connect Vermonters.
~ Jess Hyman, Executive Director
LEARN HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN FOOD!
Registration is open for the 2017 Community Teaching Garden program in Burlington.
Participants in this hands-on, adult beginner organic gardening course 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 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. Space is limited. Scholarships are available. Sign up before March 1 for a registration discount!
"It is amazing to see all of the progress and growth that occurs over the span of 22 amazing weeks. Not only did the garden transform, but so too did all of us. From bare soil and weeds, to prolific vegetables and herbs; from inexperienced students, to knowledgeable community gardeners." - Morgan Rainville
"I will look back on this summer as a landmark year; this course developed skills and cultivated a passion I will utilize the rest of my life." - Bill Wooden
WELCOME NEW BOARD MEMBERS & INTERN
Please join us in welcoming two new members to the Vermont Community Garden Network board: Michael Latreille and Juliana Dixon.
ike practices Internal Medicine at the University of Vermont Medical Center and has a strong interest in local food, food justice, and building healthy communities for vulnerable populations. Juliana is the program director at Lake Champlain International. She began gardening as a stay-at-home mother who thought it was better to direct her children to the backyard for a snack then to the cupboard, and she has experience with urban agriculture and community food in Ireland, England, and Denmark.
Sabina Parker is VCGN's spring Network Development Intern. She is a senior at the University of Vermont majoring in Food Systems with a concentration in Community and International Development and a minor in Environmental Studies. Sabina joins Lily Myers who is returning for a second semester as our Wild For Pollinators Intern. Click here to learn more about Mike, Juliana, Sabina, and the rest of our awesome team.
And we're looking for a few more people to join us in this work for the 2017 growing season:
BRICK CHURCH MUSIC SERIES: VCGN Benefit
8 Cuerdas and Gavirias & Andreas
Friday, March 10, 7pm (doors open at 6pm)
Old Brick Church in Williston Village
We're excited to partner once again with the Brick Church for a lively show featuring
(8 Strings), the guitar and voice duo of 5th generation Vermonter Sarah Cullins and Colombian guitarist Daniel Gaviria. The couple combine their classical training and experience with a love of traditional Latin American and Spanish rhythms and folklore for lively performances that juxtapose impossibly soft lullabies with high-powered zarzuela arias. The opening act is
Gavirias & Andreas
, the visual artist is
Williston photographer John Sharpless and VCGN will provide delightful intermission refreshments.
Tickets are $12/$10 in advance
or $14/$12 at the door.
7th ANNUAL BURLINGTON SEED SWAP
Saturday, March 11, noon-3pm
Fletcher Free Library, Burlington
This free community event celebrates the upcoming gardening season and brings gardeners together to share seeds, garden stories, and resources. Bring your own non-GMO seeds to share and exchange. The swap starts at noon, and there will be
Seed Saving with Mara Welton of Half Pint Farm & Slow Food Vermont
Growing Food in Small Spaces with Julie Rubaud of Red Wagon Plants
Indigenous Vermont Agriculture with Fred Wiseman
Seed starting activities for kids run all afternoon with Green Mountain Compost and Friends of the Fletcher Free Library will be on hand with info about the tool lending program as well as a great selection of gardening books for sale. The Swap is presented by Vermont Community Garden Network in partnership with the Fletcher Free Library, Burlington Parks Recreation & Waterfront, and Green Mountain Compost. Donations appreciated to benefit the Community Teaching Garden scholarship fund.
Join the Facebook event.
MORE SEED SWAPS:
- The Swap Sisters annual seed swap is TODAY (Tuesday, Feb. 7) from 6:30 to 8pm at The Deep Well, 144 S. Main St., Hardwick. Bring seeds to exchange as well as seed-saving and gardening tips and any gardening questions. Leftover seeds will be available on Thursday, Feb. 9, from noon to 1 pm at the Hardwick Community Dinner at the United Church in Hardwick. Information: 755-6336, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Central Vermont Seed Swap is Saturday, Feb. 25th from 10am-1pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Barre (19 Seminary St., S.W. corner of Summer & Seminary streets). Free admission and free seeds; bringing saved seeds to share is welcome but not required. Consider bringing a potluck dish to share. The generous support of High Mowing Organic Seeds helps make this annual event possible.
- SAVE THE DATES:
Click here for more events!
- NOFA-VT WINTER CONFERENCE: Feb 18-20 at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Registrater before Feb. 13 to save $10!
- Day in the Dirt: Saturday, April 29
- New North End Plant Sale: Saturday, May 20 at Ace Hardware
- Sweet Potato Slip Sale: June 10-11 at Red Wagon Plants, Hinesburg
Resources for Garden Leaders
FREE SEEDS FOR GARDENS
Join community and school garden leaders from your region for these Grow It workshops focused on growing community. Learn strategies to boost your programs, share stories and ideas, and connect with others in the field. All workshops take place 4-7pm and include a light meal. Sign up today to reserve your space!
GROWING COMMUNITY: March Workshops
- Rutland - Vermont Farmers Food Center: March 9
- White River Junction - Center for Transformational Practice: March 14
- Montpelier - Montpelier High School: March 16
- Lyndon Center - Lyndon Institute: March 21
- North Bennington - The Village School of North Bennington: March 23
- Burlington - Bishop Booth Conference Center at Rock Point: March 30
TOOLSHED TIP: Go Wild for Pollinators
February is the perfect time to plan new and exciting projects for your garden, and to think about how to get the community involved in the process. Have you considered creating pollinator habitat at your garden? It's as simple as setting aside land to grow wild or adding plantings that benefit the diversity of pollinators we have in Vermont: native bees, wasps, butterflies, and more.
Click here to read the full Toolshed Tip
and learn more about the education and community building potential of going Wild For Pollinators.
GARDENS GRANTS: Apply Now
The deadlines are approaching for VCGN's workplace garden and youth garden education grant programs.
"I think every child should be allowed the opportunity to learn about where their food comes from. But beyond that, I think providing those skills and that education to children who are suffering from food insecurity is especially powerful and gives them an incredible since of autonomy." - Alanna Ojibway, 2016 Gardens For Learning Site Coordinator at the Upper Valley Haven
- GREEN THUMBS AT WORK: Funding and technical assistance to helps businesses and organizations boost employee wellness with workplace food gardens. Application deadline February 10. More info.
- GARDENS FOR LEARNING: Funding and technical assistance for gardening, nutrition, and cooking programs for children at risk of summertime hunger. Grant recipients run programs at affordable housing sites, schools, community health centers, and summer camps. Application deadline February 17. More info.
The Vermont Community Garden Network is growing a healthier Vermont by helping people of all ages access the space and resources to grow their own food and connect with each other. We need your help now more than ever!
Please make a donation today to will grow more gardens, gardeners, and garden leaders. Thank you.
Contact us - we'd love to hear from you!
Since 2001, the Vermont Community Garden Network (formerly known as Friends of Burlington Gardens) has worked with hundreds of community and school groups to start, sustain, and grow gardens, building strong local food systems and vibrant educational sites.
, Executive Director
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