It's Grow Time!
Day in the Dirt is a fun volunteer event held April 29 at garden sites all over Burlington and beyond.
Host a garden work day or find a site near you and sign up at

These past few days have breathed a whole new life into our communities. All over the state, kids and adults are outside, looking into the gardens to see what's coming up, and planning for a season of abundant harvests. Many of these gardens are supported by VCGN and we're thrilled to announce this year's Green Thumbs at Work and Gardens For Learninggrantees, including a special mini-grant program for childcare centers.

This month, we're also highlighting several of the Extension Master Gardener (EMG) projects taking place at community and school sites across the state. Hear from EMG volunteers and community partners from Barre, Benson, Montpelier, and White River Junction.  

And we're super excited about the 5th Annual Day in the Dirt, coming up April 29 at dozens of community and school garden sites. Read on to find out how you can join the fun and get your hands in the dirt! 
~ Jess Hyman, Executive Director

  Fast link to: 

We need your help now more than ever to bring high-quality food and garden education to children and adults all over the state.
Thank you for making a donation today! 

Children gather around an outdoor cooking station to peel and slice zucchini for a lunch snack at Richford Health Center.
Gardens for Learning is VCGN's grant and technical assistance program that supports summer gardening, nutrition, and cooking programs for children at risk of summertime hunger. By learning how to grow their own food in an engaging and supportive environment and using that food to make healthy snacks, children are not only changing their own habits, but increasing their families' overall food security. This year's 13 Gardens For Learning grantees are located from Alburgh to White River Junction.  See the full list of grantees and learn more here. 
The high number of applications we received from childcare centers reflects a strong interest in providing garden and nutrition education opportunities for young children, and a need for more support and resources to make this possible. Thus, this year we have decided to expand the Gardens for Learning grant program to include a mini-grant for 5 additional childcare centers. Gardens for Learning is made possible thanks to the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation and City Market.

Upper Valley Food Co-op employees Crystal Mondor
and Chris Jacobson take a garden break.
(Upper Valley Food Co-op photo)

We're partnering again this year with the Vermont Department of Health, Charlie Nardozzi, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, and Gardener's Supply to help small businesses establish workplace food gardens for employees through the Green Thumbs at Work program. The gardens provide fresh food, a means of physical activity and stress reduction, and increased opportunities for other wellness activities. This year's 9 grantees include health care facilities, a youth theater, an IT company, and a solar installer.  See the full list of grantees here.

The garden committee at North Avenue Coop is excited to add a children's area to the new community garden.
Over the past few years, we have increased support for gardens at affordable housing sites for seniors, families and veterans. In 2017, thanks to a grant from the UVM Medical Center Community Health Investment Fund, we are working with 11 housing communities all over Chittenden County. "Growing Food, Growing Community" projects range from brand new gardens at Kelley's Field Senior Housing in Hinesburg and Maple Tree Housing in Williston, to adding a children's garden at the North Avenue Coop mobile home park in Burlington, to food and garden workshops at transitional housing sites, to garden support at Beacon Apartments in South Burlington, and more.

We're looking forward to working with all the garden leaders at these sites, as well as our ongoing senior and veterans garden programming in partnership with HANDS (Helping And Nurturing Diverse Seniors), Ethan Allen Residence, St. Michael's College, Cathedral Square, and COTS, and family programming with the Family Room. It's shaping up to be a busy and productive growing season! 
UVM student volunteers get the Harbor Place garden ready for the season.
Day in the Dirt is a community and school garden work day to kick off the growing season, introduce more people to the joys of community and school gardening, and celebrate how these sites nourish and connect so many people.

The 5th annual Day in the Dirt includes teams of volunteers working at sites all over Burlington (and beyond!), a delicious picnic, and plenty of fun and prizes. Day in the Dirt is made possible thanks to more than 200 volunteers, Gardener's Supply, Burlington Parks Recreation & Waterfront, UVM's Department of Community Development & Applied Economics, Green Mountain Compost, the Intervale Center, and a host of local businesses. YOU can be part of this fun community event, too!

BE A GARDEN SUPERHERO: Spend the morning help out at a Burlington-area site, then celebrate at the Intervale with lunch and prizes. Sign up by Friday, April 14 and get a T-shirt, too! Click here to sign up. 

NEW THIS YEAR: Check out the list of gardens around the state that are welcoming Day in the Dirt volunteers on April 29 at
We've invited garden sites around the state to join the fun by holding garden work days and planning sessions on Day in the Dirt. Garden groups can register sites here and we'll post them on our website with contact info for volunteers.  

"This will be my 5th year volunteering. I come back each year because it's a great way to support the local gardening community, to share and hear stories from fellow gardeners, and it's fun to get our hands dirty with excitement for the new growing season!" - Bill Wooden


gardensResources for Garden Groups
Extension Master Gardener Volunteers 

Faith and Jane - EMG project co-leaders at Upper Valley Haven in White River Junction.

By Libby Weiland
Early spring is the time when garden organizers are taking stock: Are there enough tools on hand? What needs to be fixed or upgraded? Do we need to order compost? In our logistical rush to get things ready, let us not forget perhaps the most important question: Do we have the people committed to the project to make for a successful season?

This season as you're reaching out, consider another source for volunteers: the University of Vermont Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program. This month we're taking a deeper look at the program and how Vermont community and school gardens can benefit from EMG volunteer support. Click here to read the full article.
Learning in the garden at The Garden at 485 Elm in Montpelier (The Garden at 485 Elm photo).

The last Grow It workshop of the season is April 18 at the Center for Transformational Practice in White River Junction. Join garden leaders from your region to discuss ways to grow community in and around your garden. The workshop is 4-7pm and includes a light meal. Sign up today to reserve your space! 
Thanks for Your Support!
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 grow more gardens, gardeners, and garden leaders. Thank 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.    
Contact us - we'd love to hear from you!

Jess Hyman , Executive Director
Libby Weiland, Statewide Network Coordinator 
Carolina Lukac, Garden Education Manager
Trish Laraja, Business Manager
Jennifer Fuller, Office Administrator
Lily Myers, Wild For Pollinators Intern
Sabina Parker, Network Development Intern 
802-861-4769 |

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