The NOFA-VT Winter Conference is almost here! VCGN is pleased to present the 3rd Annual Community and School Garden Track on Sunday, Feb. 16, with special workshops for garden leaders and a fun Network Gathering and Garden Showcase.
"Anyone who thinks that gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year. For gardening begins in January with the dream." ~ Josephine Nuese
In This Issue
Green Thumbs at Work Garden Grants
Community and School Garden Track at the NOFA-VT Winter Conference
Register Now for the Community Teaching Garden
The Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders
Reads and Resources


Green Thumbs at Work Garden Grants
Application deadline Jan. 21 


Imagine walking outside your workplace on your lunch break to pick a fresh carrot, weed a little, or simply sit in a green and peaceful space. You can make it happen thanks to a new Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Community Garden Network grant program, in partnership with Gardener's Supply Company and garden expert Charlie Nardozzi.


The Green Thumbs at Work grants will provide funding and technical assistance for nine workplace food gardens at sites  around the state. Any business or organization with fewer than 50 employees in Vermont is eligible to apply. Two size grants will be awarded, $1,750 for Full Food Gardens and $650 for Container Food Gardens.


Click here for more information and the online application. Winners will be announced Feb. 10. 


For more garden grants, visit:


VCGN presents the 3rd Annual Community and School Garden Track at the NOFA-VT Winter Conference

Join us February 15 and 16 at the 32nd Annual NOFA-VT Winter Conference. The conference is a highlight of the winter for Vermont's farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, and enthusiastic eaters. There will be speakers, workshops, networking, fun, and celebration. Register before Feb. 4 for a $20 early registration discount. The scholarship application deadline is Jan. 24.
For the third year, VCGN will be hosting the Community and School Garden Track at the conference with special workshops on how to start a successful community or school garden and take your existing garden to the next level. And don't miss the fun Network Gathering and Garden Showcase. Come join us on Sunday, February 16th!

  • Summer Success with School Gardens and Connecting to the School Year
  • Community Garden Leader Discussion: Strategies for Lasting Gardener Engagement
  • Diverse Fundraising Strategies for Community and School Gardens
  • Starting a Community-based Garden
  • Dense Planting Methods for Raised Beds


Register Now for the Community Teaching Garden

The 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.


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


Anu and Shelley at the Community Teaching Garden
Anu and Shelley at the Community Teaching Garden

Hear what some of our students have to say about the class in this video and check out more videos  and the 2013 class blog



The Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders

By Libby Weiland, Program Manager

Your January tip:
The beginning of the New Year is an exciting time to inspire your garden community with talk of the garden and all that's to come.


One fun way to bring gardeners together at the turn of the year is to organize a seed swap. This is an opportunity for gardeners to meet and exchange their extra seeds (harvested or from packets) from the last season. You can feature varieties that grow well in your area, personal favorites, heirlooms, and culturally significant crops.


This is also a great occasion to invite returning and potential new gardeners, providing information about your garden, important dates and developments for 2014, and how to sign-up for a plot. In some communities, seed swaps are annual events celebrating gardening, food, cultural heritage, and crop diversity.  This is also a great opportunity to provide workshops and educational tips on seed starting, seed saving, and other timely garden topics. Whether you plan a small gathering or a community-wide event, you will have re-energized local gardeners and gardeners-to-be for the season to come-what better time to gather volunteers and new leaders for the year ahead!   


Here are some links to help plan at seed swap (in order of depth):

Several Burlington-area organizations come together each year for a seed swap to kick off the growing season. In 2013, Burlington Permaculture, Burlington Area Community Gardens, Grow Team O.N.E. and the Vermont Community Garden Network hosted more than 150 people who shared seeds, garden stories, and a great potluck meal. Stay tuned for info about the 4th Annual Burlington Seed Swap, scheduled for mid-March.



Garden Reads and Resources


Here are a few interesting community garden-related news items and fun resources we wanted to share this month:
  • The Harvest of the Month program, a partnership of Green Mountain Farm-to-School, Food Connects and Upper Valley Farm to School provides ready-to-go materials for your classroom, cafeteria and community to promote the use of local, seasonal foods. January is beets and rutabagas. Check it out!
  • The Burlington District Office of the Vermont Vermont Department of Health has a fun "favorite vegetable" photo series on its Facebook page.
  • A new law in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia allows vacant property to be converted to a community garden, provided its backers pay for a $50 permit and receive approval from the Planning Department. Read more.
  • According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, more than 40 percent of offenders return to prison within three years. By contrast, the San Quentin State Prison outside San Francisco, says the recidivism rate for the men who go through its Planting Justice garden program is only 10 percent. Read more.
  • Tips for setting up a Community Chicken Flock.


See our website more for 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 comments and suggestions for the VCGN Bulletin.  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
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