Vermont Community Garden Network
August 2015 Newsletter

"No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing." ~ Julia Child


It's harvest time! Growing the food is just one part of a successful garden and we delight in seeing so many people cooking, sharing, and learning with each other. Children at Gardens For Learning sites all over the state are cooking up tons of garden food and fun, gardeners are harvesting from their workplace gardens for employee meals, and community and school groups are sharing the bounty with others. This month's newsletter features just a few of the many ways that gardeners are growing together. And as a special treat, we've included our favorite garden pesto recipe. It's easy to make with whatever herbs and green you have on hand. Enjoy!

~ Jess, Libby, Carolina, Denise, Trish, Lily, and Claire 
Green Thumbs at Work All Around Vermont
By Libby Weiland, Statewide Network Coordinator

Employees are digging in the dirt at workplace gardens all over the state! So far this season, these new gardens are getting people outdoors for lunch, eating together, eating more fresh veggies, and learning how to grow their own.
  • At Milton CAT in Richmond, a core group of enthusiastic gardeners are sharing a love for vegetables with their co-workers. Employee gardener Ward Butler harvested kale from the garden and made kale chips, encouraging his co-workers to "give them a try" - and they did!
  • At Carris-Reels in Rutland, a hesitant gardener has turned out to be integral to the garden's success by tilling the soil for the new garden, helping build a shed, and removing a snapping turtle that had become a regular visitor at the garden.
  • An employee from NEKCA Head Start/Early Start in Barton related a story that one morning when she was getting ready to leave for work her son commented on what a small amount of food she was bringing for lunch. She responded, "The rest of my lunch is at the garden!"

Green Thumbs at Work is Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Community Garden Network program, in partnership with Charlie Nardozzi and Gardener's Supply

GardensForLearningOn the Road With Gardens For Learning
By Carolina Lukac, Garden Education Specialist     


This year VCGN offered grant awards to 9 sites that committed to running a summer program with hands-on gardening, cooking and nutrition activities for children. Each Gardens for Learning site personalizes their summer program with their own rhythm and flavors. Here are a few anecdotes from recent site visits...


When I arrived at the St Johnsbury School Catamount Sprouts site, I found Courtney in the kitchen baking zucchini muffins. Breakfast was served buffet style and included a nutritious array of spreads for those muffins (butter, rhubarb jam, peanut butter) and a fruit and yogurt smoothie that Lianne described as "a magical recipe with all the leftover fruit in the refrigerator." At the Highgate Housing site I observed children playing with scone dough as if it was play dough, melting all the butter in their warm hands and squeezing the blueberries in the process. And yet, when those blueberry scones came out of the oven, they were perfect. It was a sweet reminder of trusting in the process of involving children in hands-on cooking.


Click here to read more and see photos from Gardens For Learning sites across the state... 


Gardens For Learning is a program of the Vermont Community Garden Network, made possible with generous support from the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation. 

TipThe Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders

Share the Bounty  


By Libby Weiland, Statewide Network Coordinator  

Your August Tip:

What better way to celebrate this time of abundance than to share the bounty! Whether it's swapping plentiful veggies with fellow gardeners, sharing tasty treats with neighbors and friends, or giving a portion of your produce to a local food shelf or community kitchen-sharing the harvest benefits everyone. Below are some ti ps for organizing a coordinated produce donation program at your community garden. Click here for the full Toolshed Tip and examples from different gardens. 
  • Gauge interest. Ask around or organize a meeting of community gardeners to determine who and how many would like to participate in a produce donation program. If you're posing this question now, mid-late summer, your donations will be coming from surplus garden harvest. To organize a more involved campaign for next season, look into Garden Writers Association's Plant a Row for the Hungry program.
  • Find a local food shelf, community kitchen, or other outlet for your donated produce. Talk with the donation site coordinator to ask if they accept fresh garden produce, what kinds of produce they need the most, and what the best days and times are for produce drop off. To locate a site near you, check out Vermont Foodbank's map of Vermont food shelves and meal sites. Another great resource that links gardens to local food shelves is
  • Make a plan for donating. Using the information you received from the donation site, work with interested gardeners to determine how produce will be harvested, cleaned, collected, stored, and delivered. If you are harvesting from a shared, dedicated donation plot, you'll also want to add garden maintenance to your list of volunteer tasks. 
Become a VCGN member for discounts to Grow It! workshops, Gardener's Supply, and more!
Like our
 for updates, photos, and lots of garden news from around the state!
Since 2001, the Vermont Community Garden Network (formerly known as Friends of Burlington Gardens) has worked with community and school groups to start, sustain and grow gardens, building strong local food systems and vibrant educational sites.

The monthly VCGN Newsletter provides garden-based news, resources, and events to more than 2,600 gardeners and garden leaders all over the state.

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Send your garden news and events to For even more current information and updates, connect to VCGN and other gardens on  Facebook and  Twitter.

We'd love to hear from you!

Jess Hyman, Executive Director
Libby Weiland, Statewide Network Coordinator 
Carolina Lukac, Garden Education Specialist

Trish Deschamps, Office Manager

Denise Quick, Community Teaching Garden Instructor 
Lily Sargeant, Community Teaching Garden Outreach Intern
Claire Madden, Community Teaching Garden Education Intern  
In This Issue
Registration Open for Fall Grow It! Workshops

 More than 260 garden leaders have participated in this unique regional workshop series. Join community and school garden leaders,VCGN's Libby Weiland, and Garden Expert Charlie Nardizzi this fall in:


Brattleboro: Sept.8

Cornwall: Sept. 10

White River Jct: Sept. 17

St. Johnsbury: Sept. 21

Milton: Oct. 6

Barre Town: Oct. 8

Manchester Center: Oct. 15


Click here for more info and registration.
Burlington Area Community Gardens
Community Meeting & Summer Potluck

Join BACG at 5:30pm Sunday, Aug. 16 at Oakledge Park lower shelter to help shape the future of the city's community garden program. Engage with  fellow gardeners about core values, and what brings you to the gardens! Attendance counts for two work hours and there will be burgers and veggie burgers for everyone. Bring a dish to share and your own plate and silverware to reduce waste. RSVP at   
Sunday, Sept. 27
at Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington.
Celebrate the harvest with gardeners and friends from VCGN, Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront BACG, VNA Family Room, New Farms for New Americans and more!
Join the Facebook Event!

Tell your garden's story for a chance to win $2,500
Retale's Community Garden video contest deadline is August 20. Post a note on the VCGN Facebook page so we can send people to vote for your video.

The Jane B. Cook 1992 Charitable Trust has awarded VCGN a special  challenge grant and we still have $2,700 to raise before Sept. 30th.

If we raise $10,000 in donations of $250 or more from individuals and businesses from outside Chittenden County, VT the Trust will grant us an additional $10,000!
Please consider a gift of $250 or more today to help us meet this challenge
and double your impact.

We need YOUR help to keep growing gardens, gardeners, and garden leaders. Thank you!  


Thanks to the Vermont Brewers Festival and the state's best brewers, VCGN raised $900 through the VT Beer Garden Raffle. Congratulations to the winners and BIG THANKS to all the breweries and other businesses that donated prizes for the raffle and to everyone who supported VCGN by buying a ticket. You are helping more people grow more food for themselves, their families, and their neighbors!
PestoGarden Pesto Recipe 
This recipe is easy to make with whatever herbs and greens you have on hand. The pesto is great on pasta, pizza, and sandwiches, as a dip, and in potato or bean salads. It keeps
for up to a week in the fridge, and freezes well.
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ cup sunflower seeds (or pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds)
- 1 cup fresh herbs (basil, sage, oregano, parsley, or cilantro, or a combination)
- 3 cups greens (kale, chard, mustard greens, spinach, or a combination), stems removed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Juice of one lemon
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Salt & pepper to taste
1. Put seeds/nuts in a dry skillet and toast over med-high heat, shaking occasionally, until golden and fragrant (1-2 minutes), cool.
2. Place garlic and sunflower seeds in a food processor with a metal blade and pulse to mix.
3. Add herbs and greens, drizzle with half the olive oil and pulse until everything is finely
chopped and combined.
4. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper (and cheese, if using) and pulse until just combined.
5. Add more oil as needed to reach desired consistency.

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