Vermont Community Garden Network
July 2015 Newsletter

"I don't trust a garden (or gardener) that hasn't any weeds. Some wildness and uncertainty is a condition that is an honest representation of life. " ~ Christopher Hobbs, botanist and herbalist

Summer is here and with it comes bountiful garden harvests and many opportunities to celebrate the season. Read on, enjoy your garden, and keep in touch! 

~ Jess, Libby, Carolina, Denise, Trish, Lily, Claire, and Anna  

Tickets are still available for this fun garden event - get out your party dresses and rubber boots for music, dancing, hearty garden-inspired snacks and an awesome silent auction! All to help GROW more community and school gardens around the state.


Call (802) 861-4769 or email to RSVP. 

Fall Grow It! Workshop Schedule
SAVE THE DATE!  Join community and school garden leaders from around your region for a fall workshop near you. Learn strategies to boost your garden programs, share stories and ideas, and celebrate this growing movement! Workshops take place at seven locations around the state, and are presented by VCGN in partnership with regional garden expert, Charlie Nardozzi. All workshops are 4-7pm and include a visit to a local community or school garden. This fall's schedule:
  • Food Connects at the VT Agricultural Business Education Center in Brattleboro: Sept. 8
  • Cornwall School: Sept. 10
  • Upper Valley Haven in White River Junction: Sept. 17
  • Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury: Sept.21
  • Milton High School: Oct. 6
  • Barre Town Middle & Elementary School: Oct. 8
  • Manchester Elementary & Middle School: Oct.15

Visit for more details and check back soon to register online. See you this fall!

Growing Community with Champlain Housing Trust


By Anna Townsend, SCHEP Intern  


Residents at Avenue Apartments, a Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) property near the Ethan Allen Shopping Center on North Avenue in Burlington, gathered recently to plan their new community garden.


Last month, residents circulated a petition which 20 out of 33 units signed in favor of establishing the garden. Until recently, they were cultivating a small unapproved vegetable and herb garden tucked behind a bench by the property's playground. On July 1, CHT Community Relations Specialist Anna Herman hosted a meeting with residents, the property manager, and VCGN staff. The enthusiastic group shared their excitement and expectations for the new garden. The residents exuded passion for gardening, learning, and creating a purposeful communal space.   


"It's not a home until it has a garden," said  Maleka, a resident and avid gardener. She has a garden at Rock Point community garden and helps coordinate the Sustainability Academy garden.


Members of the VCGN staff, Jess Hyman and Libby Weiland, answered gardening questions from the residents and addressed concerns from residents and CHT staff about garden management.


This new garden is part of a growing trend in Vermont to create gardens at affordable housing and senior care sites. This summer, VCGN Intern Anna Townsend, a junior majoring in Biology at the University of Kentucky, is working on an inventory of current gardens and assessing the interest and potential for new gardens at sites in the Burlington area. Considering the mental, emotional, and physical benefits of gardening along with limited access and resources to fresh produce, these locations are ideal for establishing community gardens.

VCGN is highly anticipating the arrival of abundant vegetables, vibrant flowers, burgeoning friendships, and the continued love of gardening at Avenue Apartments.

TipThe Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders

Learning in the Garden 


By Libby Weiland, Statewide Network Coordinator  

Your July Tip:

Providing educational opportunities at your garden can build gardeners' confidence and skills, and deepen their interest in gardening, ultimately increasing the likelihood that they'll stick with gardening throughout the season. If the idea of adding "organize workshop" to your list of things to do this summer seems daunting, here are some ideas for getting the valuable benefits of educational opportunities with a small amount time, energy, and resources:
  • Garden-side support: Seek out a local expert - someone who's either a part of the garden or from the greater community - to make a regular commitment to be available for questions at the garden. UVM Master Gardeners are a great resource for this type of commitment.
  • Buddy System: Much of the knowledge, skills, and experience you need may already be available right in your own garden community. Garden mentor programs match experienced gardeners who are looking to share their knowledge with less experienced gardeners.
  • Skill share: Beyond gardening, what other skills do people in your garden community have to offer? Carpenters, cooks, artists and others can help make projects happen at your garden and share their skills and knowledge with fellow gardeners in the process.
  • Combine forces: Hold a hands-on lesson in the garden as a part of your regular garden work party. One great example: A garden insect workshop where participants are instructed to go looking for - removing - bugs. Try this same idea with weeds, diseases, and other plant care to be addressed on work days.


AbundanceWelcome New VCGN Staff!

VCGN is growing and we are pleased to welcome our new Office Manager, Trish Deschamps. A native of Cape Cod, Mass., she relocated to Vermont in 2011. She has a wealth of experience in accounting, database management, and office administration. Trish's hobbies include indoor cycling, paddle-boarding and knitting and we're looking forward to getting her out in the gardens!  


Also joining us this summer is a stellar team of interns:  


  • Lily Sargeant, Community Teaching Garden Outreach Intern, is a Biology major and a Community and International Development minor at the University of Vermont. She grew up in Vermont in a family that had a deep love of gardening. Her fascination with public heath started when she was working for the center for disease control in Ethiopia, where she developed a fascination with food systems and how they influence communities and community development projects. She hopes that through working with VCGN she will develop a better understanding of how community gardening helps to strengthen local food systems.
  • Claire Madden, Community Teaching Garden Education Intern, is a Senior at the University of Vermont studying Community and International Development and Food Systems. She has grown up gardening and growing vegetables in Southern Vermont, and there she developed a lifelong love of digging in the dirt. More recently, Claire completed a Permaculture Design Certification Course, as well as several courses in Ecological Agriculture through UVM. Throughout the summer, she hopes to gain a better understanding of the integral role that local food production plays in developing resilient community based food systems and empowering individuals to grow and harvest their own food. 
  • Anna Townsend, Bonner-AmeriCorps Shepherd Intern, is a biology major with a music performance minor at the University of Kentucky. She is interested in pursuing a career in food science and would like to use this knowledge to help fight hunger. During her eight-week internship, Anna is compiling an inventory of existing and potential community garden locations at low-income and senior care housing sites and also assisting with local garden education programming. Anna is looking forward to broadening her understanding of the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of community gardens. 
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
Anna Townsend, SCHEP Intern 
In This Issue
Celebrate your Community or School Garden at the Fair!

The Champlain Valley Fair (Aug. 28-Sept. 6) has a wonderful garden center with competitions for youth and adults.  There are an abundance of categories to enter, including vegetables, cut flowers, herbs, canning  & preserving and even a community/school garden exhibit. This is a great way to showcase your garden - and you can win cash prizes, too! 
Keep up with the Community Teaching Garden Class of 2015

VCGN's hands-on gardening program is going full steam. See what the students are up to and get some timely garden tips. Click here to read the weekly blog. 


The Jane B. Cook 1992 Charitable Trust has awarded VCGN a special  challenge grant for donations.

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!  


VCGN is partnering once again with some of the state's best breweries and the Vermont Brewers Festival for a benefit raffle. We have put together three generous prize bundles featuring tours, tastings, hats, glasses, gift certificates and more.
The drawing is July 20 and tickets are available at sites in Burlington, Winooski and Waterbury.

Growing a Network in the Mile High City! 
36th Annual National American Community Gardening Association Conference


Held in Denver, Colorado, from Aug. 13-16, the conference includes tours, workshops, networking, keynote speakers and other presentations by local and national leaders in the community garden movement.
Check out the conference schedule 
Get Your Garden on the Map!
Join our growing network of community and school gardens!
VCGN has a Garden Directory which  shows the nearly 400 community, school and group gardens around the state.
Is your garden on our map?

The Directory is a great resource for helping people find your garden and connecting you to other garden organizations.  With our directory, you can create a profile to add a garden listing or update an existing one
Check out the map and connect with a garden near you!

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Vermont Community Garden Network | 802-861-4769 |