Vermont Community Garden Network
June 2015 Newsletter
"Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do. Plus you get strawberries." 
~Ron Finley, Gardener, South Central LA

It's been a busy spring in the community and school garden world and we love seeing and hearing about all the action around the state. Over this past few months VCGN has been helping groups get ready for the season at Grow It! garden leader workshops, the Gardens For Learning spring retreat, Burlington Area Community Gardens site leader training, Central Vermont Food Systems Council School Garden Curriculum Workshop, CVOEO Garden Day, garden workshops at Albert's Way and Harrington Village housing sites, and much more.

Our biggest event of the spring was Day in the Dirt, when more than 160 volunteers and 32 businesses and organizations worked together to give 11 Burlington-area community and school gardens a spring boost. 

This newsletter contains photos from some of these events, as well as info about an exciting challenge grant and how you can DOUBLE your contribution to VCGN, this month's Toolshed Tip for garden leaders, and the upcoming Sweet Potato Slip Sale.

Community gardens are an essential part of the state's working landscape. They feed tens of thousands of Vermonters, are rich educational sites, and a play a key role in connecting people to their food - and each other! Alongside the wealth of garden activity and resources, we also wanted to share a reflection on scarcity and abundance inspired by the spring seed swap.

Read on, enjoy your garden, and keep in touch! 

~ Jess, Libby, Carolina, Denise, Lily & Claire 
SweetChamplain Valley Sweet Potato Slip Sale
June 13 & 14 at Red Wagon Plants in Hinesburg

Sweet potatoes are ideal for Champlain Valley gardeners with sandy, silty, or loam soil. Each slip can produce up to five pounds of delicious Orleans sweet potatoes. The rooted slips are 3 for $6; buy 6 pots, get one free. Special prices for bulk orders and community projects. Pre-order online or call (802) 861-4769 to reserve your slips. 

The sale is June 13 & 14 at Red Wagon Plants in Hinesburg. We will also be selling burlap coffee sacks, which are great for weed block on your garden paths and sweet potato hills!  
A Busy Spring
Here is a sampling of VCGN spring events and activities:

VCGN Statewide Network Coordinator Libby Weiland and Charlie Nardozzi traveled to seven sites around the state for Grow It! garden leader trainings, including (clockwise from top), VT Agricultural Business Education Center in Brattleboro, Cornwall School, and Barre Town Middle & Elementary School.
VCGN is starting its second season with the Gardens For Learning program, which we adopted from FoodWorks at Two Rivers Center in 2014. Nine sites around the state - including a new site at Franklin Square Apartments in Burlington (shown here) - hold summer programs that teach children how to grow, harvest, and cook healthy meals and snacks.

The Central Vermont Food Systems Council Spring into the School Garden Curriculum Workshop at Northfield Middle/High School included educational stations for garden activities aligned with Vermont's Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. VCGN Garden Education Specialist Carolina Lukac hosted one of the education stations.

VCGN Board VP Daria Holcomb shows young gardeners how to start seeds at the April 24 Gardener's Supply Garden Party in Williston.

DirtThe third annual Day in the Dirt on Saturday, May 9, 2015 was a tremendous success!

More than 160 volunteers gave local community and school gardens all over Burlington a spring boost and had a great time, too. Presented in partnership with 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, the event gives a spring boost to sites that are essential to feeding and connecting our community.


We are so grateful to all the volunteers, garden site leaders sponsors, and partners who made this amazing day possible.


Click here to see photos from the day.  





TipThe Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders

Garden Communications


By Libby Weiland 

Your Tip: Before the season is in full swing, make sure there are systems in place for communicating information, ideas, and concerns with and among those involved with the garden (i.e. gardeners, volunteers, teachers, students). To assess your garden's communications, start with some basic questions:

  • How does your group relay announcements, scheduling, and other valuable information?
  • How do those involved with the garden communicate their needs and ideas to the organizing group?
  • How do members of your garden community communicate with each other to express concerns, share ideas, and help each other out?
Click here to


AbundanceScarcity and Abundance: 
A reflection on seeds and culture

By Carolina Lukac


"VCGN's Annual Seed Swap was a cultural experience for me. I remember feeling my heart racing and thinking to myself, 'Wow, this is the land of abundance.' 



I was born and raised in Mexico City, where I spent the last eight years establishing and running an urban agriculture learning center. Although Mexico has a strong agricultural heritage, when I started gardening in 2007 it was challenging to find organic seeds in the city."
VCGN Garden Education Specialist Carolina Lukac writes about the contrast between her experience in Mexico and here in Vermont. This blog post puts the value and power of seeds and our privilege to live in a land of abundance into perspective. 
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
Denise Quick,  Community Teaching Garden Instructor
Lily Sargeant, Community Teaching Garden Outreach Intern
Claire Madden, Community Teaching Garden Education Intern 
In This Issue

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!  
Thank you
City Market shoppers!

We were honored to be a City Market Rally for Change recipient for the month of May, when YOU helped raise $5,645 for VCGN, and $4,516 for Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, and $1,129 for Children's Advocacy Center.
With thousands of transactions per day, a few cents can really make a big difference. Tell your cashier to round up!  
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.

Upcoming Events


Archibald Neighborhood Garden Grand Re-Opening
June 11, 3pm at 28 Archibald St. in Burlington. Join the garden community, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, and project partners to celebrate the city's purchase and rehabilitation of the site.
7th Annual Sweet Potato Plant Sale

June 13th and 14th, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. VCGN is partnering with Red Wagon Plants for a fundraiser to benefit VCGN's educational programs. Join us at the Red Wagon Plants greenhouses, 2408 Shelburne Falls Road in Hinesburg.




Garden Party at ArtsRiot with Jenni Johnson & The Junketeers

6-9pm Wednesday, July 8, at ArtsRiot, 400 Pine St, Burlington.


Bring your dancing shoes for this fun event with garden-inspired fare, cash bar, silent auction, and great music by Jenni Johnson & The Junketeers!

More info coming soon.


Check our events page to stay up to date.


Growing a Network in the Mile High City! 
Join us for the 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!

Newsletter Archive
April 2015
March 2015
Like our
 for updates, photos, and lots of garden news from around the state!
Become a VCGN member for discounts to Grow It! workshops, Gardener's Supply, and more!
Vermont Community Garden Network | 802-861-4769 |