VCGN Bulletin ~ Early April 2014  
"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt"  
~ Margaret Atwood
Spring is our favorite time of year at VCGN and we're celebrating its arrival on April 11 with an evening of great food and special guests at Gardener's Supply in Williston. This fun event is just one of many ways to usher in the growing season. Our Early April newsletter is packed full of news, events, grant opportunities, and resources for garden leaders. Enjoy, and we hope to see you soon!
In This Issue
New Garden Grants
Celebrate Spring April 11 in Williston
Growing Outside the Box with NOFA-VT
Tips and Workshops for Garden Leaders
Register Now for the Community Teaching Garden
More Burlington Garden Events
Work With Us!


New Compost Grants for Chittenden County
Green Mountain Compost and the Vermont Community Garden Network have teamed up to support local gardens with donations of new compost, seeds, and other resources. 

The grants are open to any community-based initiative or program that serves low-income gardeners in Chittenden County. Eligible applicants include schools, community groups, neighborhoods, workplaces, public housing sites, day care centers, senior centers, and food shelves.  Applicants may request up to 3 cubic yards of compost, for use in 2014. The grant package also includes a bundle of seeds and garden resources from the Vermont Community Garden Network.


Click here for more info and online application. 



  Free Seeds & Books for Community and School Gardens
We have a bounty of vegetable, flower, and herb seeds for community and school garden groups courtesy of High Mowing SeedsAmerican Meadows, Depot Home and Garden, Ferry Morse, and Clean Energy Collective

Each bundle of 40-60 seeds  includes a copy of Digging Deeper: Integrating Youth Gardens into Schools & Communities, a tremendous resource guide designed for teachers, parents, and community members who want to add food-security-focused children's activities to their gardens. 
Submit your request now!


Ed Behr Ellen Ecker Ogden

Artful Eating and Gardening with acclaimed food and garden authors Ed Behr and Ellen Ecker Ogden

4:30-7pm Friday, April 11 at Gardener's Supply, 472 Marshall Ave. Williston
$15 in advance/ $18 at the door
Buy your tickets online today, or call (802) 861-4769 to reserve your place    

We invite gardeners and gastronomes to welcome spring with an evening escape at Gardener's Supply in Williston, to benefit our work with community and school gardens statewide. 


Sugarsnap Apps Meet James Beard award winner Ed Behr, author of 50 Foods: The Essentials of Good Taste and The Art of Eating, and VCGN board member Ellen Ecker Ogden, garden designer and author of The Complete Kitchen Garden, as they discuss the joy and beauty of fresh food. Ed and Ellen will sign books and answer questions.


Throughout the evening, Sugarsnap will serve creative, 50 Foods-inspired appetizers and desserts made from scratch using delicious fresh cheeses, meats, vegetables and more. A cash bar will also be available.


Tickets are $15 in advance; $18 at the door. The first 100 guests to buy tickets are entered into a special raffle. Purchase tickets online or call (802) 861-4769 to reserve your place.  


This is an event not to be missed! Get your tickets today.  

Generously hosted by Gardener's Supply and Sugarsnap, with free seeds from High Mowing Organic Seed Company and support from Phoenix Books.

* 10% of garden center sales will benefit VCGN *


Growing Outside the Box with NOFA-VT

By Aleyna Rodriguez,  VCGN Intern

Aleyna Rodriguez is VCGN's Network Development Intern. She grew up in New York City and is a junior at the University of Vermont studying environmental studies. Aleyna would like to start a non-profit organization in the Bronx, and help to build and maintain gardens around the neighborhood.


Last month, VCGN held its 3rd annual Community and School Garden Track at the NOFA Vermont Winter Conference. More than 140 people participated in garden workshops and networking events throughout the day. This special track provided the opportunity for garden leaders to share their ideas and hear what other groups are doing all over the state. Presenters  discussed basic garden leadership dos and don'ts and offered insight on how to keep garden communities engaged and having fun. Click here to read more about the Community and School Garden Track and related resources.


Growing Outside the Box


The Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders

By Libby Weiland, Program Manager

Your early April tip:

Whether your garden is new or has been around for years, never underestimate the value in attracting new people. Ongoing recruitment is important for bringing in fresh ideas, sustaining the energy and enthusiasm for your project, and adding a whole new set of skills to keep your garden moving forward. For community gardens, if you haven't started yet, this is a great time to recruit new
gardeners. For those of you working with school gardens, this is a crucial time to pull in more teachers, after school staff, and volunteers along with the fresh energy of spring.

Easily said, now how do you actually make it happen? Here are a few tips:
  1. Get the word out! Why would people want to be a part of your garden? What makes your garden unique and a worthwhile place to be? Share your message through pamphlets and fliers, online media, and in-person presentations (neighborhood associations, parent-teacher associations, garden clubs, etc.).
  2. Personal invitations. Reach out to people and groups who may not already be connected to your garden. Think about specific skills you're looking for and seek people you know who have them. Think of people you would like to have involved in your garden and ask them what skills they can offer. Also, don't forget to use your network of existing gardeners to pull in new people.
  3. Attract people to your garden with a spring kick-off celebration, a public gardening or food-related workshop, or a spring planting day.
  4. Show off the garden. This time of year in Vermont typically means a big pile of snow or a mess of mud. Think of ways to spruce the garden for early-season visitors such as colorful signs, a weather-proof bulletin board for events and the garden calendar, registration info, and photos of your garden in the height of its glory, and garden infrastructure that can double as year-round education and inspiration (i.e. a cob oven or a shed with water-catchment).

Don't give up! Seeking out new people to get involved with your garden can be time-consuming and at times frustrating. Use your successes to keep you going - it will be worth the effort!


Grow It! Workshops for Garden Leaders


Registration is open for VCGN's spring workshops around the state. Click here for more information and online registration.   

  • March 31: Hardwick Elementary School

  • April 3: Lothrop Elementary School, Pittsford
  • April 7: Aldrich Public Library, Barre
  • April 9: SIT World Learning, Brattleboro (part of Food Connects Farm to School Conference)
  • May 12: O'Brien Community Center, Winooski
  • May 15: Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Woodstock
  • May 20: St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Bennington


Sign Up Now for the Community Teaching Garden 
Registration Deadline: April 18
CTGThe Community Teaching Garden (CTG) is a 22-week hands-on beginning organic gardening class for adults. Participants learn how to plant, cultivate, harvest, and preserve fresh vegetables in a fun and supportive environment. Classes are held in Burlington twice a week from May through September at Ethan Allen Homestead and the Tommy Thompson Community Garden at the Intervale.

"We learned about everything: soil health, how to choose plant varieties based on their environmental needs, diseases, insects, different timing of planting and harvesting, etc. The program offered specific gardening lessons as well as opportunities for lifestyle changes. ... from the joy of being outdoors, to the pleasure of interacting with plants and learning how to grow food for oneself and others, to the sense of community that accumulates over time."  
~ 2014 Community Teaching Garden graduate
Hear what more of our students have to say about the class in these CTG videos and the 2013 class blog.


Register online or call (802) 861-4769 for more information.


More Burlington Garden Events

Burlington Area Community Gardens Potluck - April 12
5-7pm at the Miller Recreation Center on Gosse Court in the New North End
Join Burlington Area Community Gardens/ Burlington Parks & Recreation to kick off the gardening season. Bring a dish to share and your own plate and cutlery to help reduce waste. There will be a guest speaker from High Mowing Seeds, and seed and start giveaways. Free and open to the public.

9am-1:30pm at community and school garden sites all over Burlington

Ten teams of volunteers will pitch in at community and school garden sites all over the city, then celebrate a successful day with a delicious lunch. Day in the Dirt! is made possible thanks to 130+ volunteers, vital support from local sponsors and partner organizations - including Gardener's Supply, Boloco, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Green Mountain Compost, Redstone, Healthy Living, Ben & Jerry's, City Market, Seventh Generation, and many other local partners - and an awesome UVM CDAE Public Communication student team.  YOU can be part of this fun community event, too!

Garden Basics Workshops - May 17-Sept. 27
11:30am-12:45pm select Saturdays at Tommy Thompson Community Garden
In partnership with Burlington Area Community Gardens/Burlington Parks & Recreation, Vermont Community Garden Network presents a series of beginner garden workshops on topics such as soil health, garden planting, pests and disease prevention, food and medicine from your weeds, preserving garden produce, and extending the season. $10 sliding scale per workshop. More info and registration.



Work with us!
Spring/Summer Internship Application Deadline: April 4

VCGN interns get direct work experience and play an important role in supporting the state's network of community and school gardens, teaching people how to grow their own food, and reducing hunger. We have several internship opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students throughout the year, ranging from hands-on garden education in the Community Teaching Garden to outreach and communications to statewide network development.  All are for academic credit and based in our Burlington office. Learn more.


See our website for more Garden Grants and Garden Events from around the state.

The VCGN Bulletin provides garden-based news, resources, and events for community, school, and neighborhood gardeners and garden organizers all over the state on a monthly basis. For more frequent updates and a fun way to post your own news, garden photos, videos, and events, check us out on  Facebook and  Twitter.

We welcome your comments and suggestions.  Send your garden news and events to share with our growing network of more than 2,000 school and community gardeners all over the state. Please include a web page link to help direct readers to the information source.

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.

For more information, visit our website or contact us at:

12 North St. Suite 5
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 861-4769

We'd love to hear from you!
Jess Hyman, Executive Director
Libby Weiland, Program Manager
Ann Pearce, Volunteer Coordinator/Admin
Denise Quick, Community Teaching Garden Instructor
Aleyna Rodriguez, Intern
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