Vermont Community Garden Network
March 2015 Newsletter
  O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Spring is almost here and we're so excited for the gardening season. There are lots of ways to get growing, including fun events like the 5th Annual Burlington Seed Swap this Saturday, Grow It! garden leaders workshops all over the state in April and May, and upcoming grants from New England Grassroots Environment Fund and others. Read on for details.

And we invite our garden friends and partners to become official VCGN members! This new opportunity connects you more strongly to VCGN and the 370+ community and school garden groups around the state AND has many benefits, including discounts for the Grow It! workshops, to Gardener's Supply, and more! Learn more about VCGN membership here. 

Think Spring!

~ Jess, Libby, Carolina, Denise, and Livia
Seeds for Gardens
Thanks to the generosity of National Gardening Association and Gardener's Supply, we are offering bundles of assorted vegetable, herb, and flower seeds to Vermont community and school gardens. Simply fill in your contact and mailing information below, and tell us a bit about your garden.
The seeds will be mailed later this month. Each bundle has 30-40 seed packs. Limit one bundle per garden project. Request your seeds here.   
Spring Grow It! Workshops

Gatherings of garden leaders at locations all over Vermont. Presented by Vermont Community Garden Network in partnership with Charlie Nardozzi.


Join community and school garden leaders from your region for this workshop on strengthening your garden's leadership and network of support. Learn strategies to boost your garden programs, share stories and ideas, and celebrate this growing movement.


Spring workshops are held at 7 locations around the state. Find a workshop near you!

  • Manchester Center, Manchester Elementary & Middle School: April 23
  • Brattleboro, Food Connects at the VT Agricultural Business Education Center: April 29
  • Barre Town, Barre Town Middle & Elementary School: May 7
  • St. Johnsbury, Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital: May 11
  • White River Junction, Upper Valley Haven: May 14
  • Cornwall, Cornwall School: May 19
  • Milton, Milton High School: May 21
All workshops are 4-7pm. Registration is $30 and includes a hearty snack. VCGN members are eligible for discounted registrations. Learn about the VCGN membership program and sign up before you register for the workshop to receive your discount here.  Sliding scale option also available. 


Please pre-register. Questions? Call (802) 861-4769.

Become a VCGN member for discounts to Grow It! workshops, Gardener's Supply, and more!
Thanks to All for a Great
NOFA-VT Winter Conference!


By Livia Donicova

On Valentine's Day weekend, t he University of Vermont became a hub of farmers, gardeners, growers and enthusiastic eaters, all sharing stories and inspiring one another at the  Northeast Organic Farming Association- Vermont (NOFA-VT) 33rd annual Winter Conference. VCGN was pleased to present our 4th annual  Community and School Garden Track , including a series of workshops and networking events presented by VCGN staff, garden leaders from around the state, and specialists in the field.

This year's Community and School Garden Track line-up:
  • Community-based Gardening: Getting Started, for individuals and groups looking to start community-based gardens
  • Learning in the Garden: Curriculum Integration, focused on learning in school gardens
  • Learning in the Garden: Adult Teaching Gardens, for groups interested in starting teaching gardens or incorporating adult garden learning into existing gardens
  • Garden Organizer Roundtable: Volunteers, designed for garden organizers, with tips and discussion on volunteer development

If you missed this wonderful event, please check out the workshop materials from the Community and School Garden Track here.  

Over the lunch hour, VCGN and garden presenters gathered for networking and engaging conversations. Eight groups showcased their gardens and shared their role in addressing access and inclusion within their communities. Be sure to check out our webpage for the Showcase garden presenters and learn what each Garden has to share!
To read the full story of VCGN at NOFA-VT, click  here .
Garden Spotlight:
Mount Anthony Union Middle School

New Roots Garden for Learning is part of a sustainability course created at Mount Anthony Union Middle School (MAUMS).  About 150 7th and 8th graders participate each year, planting and growing food as well as learning to cook with the foods they grow and buy from their local CSA.  


MAUMS New Roots Garden for Learning is also used by students through an after school and summer program.  For more info on the program and garden-based lessons go to


Click here for Mount Anthony Union Middle School's presentation on their School Garden and Sustainable Living course presented at NOFA-VT Winter Conference this past February.  

Get on the Garden 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?


With our directory, you can create a profile to add a garden listing or update an existing one. This is a great way to get your garden out there and see what other, spectacular work is being done nearby. Check out the map and connect with a garden near you!


The Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders


By Libby Weiland 

Your March tip:  

As you get ready for a new season in your community or school garden, it's useful to think about who's involved, what they have to offer, and any additional support you'll need to pull off another successful year. Start by asking yourself: Who makes our garden run? Grab a pen and paper and make a quick list...

  • Well of course there are the gardeners;
  • Also likely there are people overseeing the garden's maintenance, people who design and build as needed, and someone to make sure there's funding and other resources to keep it all going;
  • Sometimes people are needed to organize events and activities in the garden;
  • Other times you seek bureaucratic or administrative support to ensure longevity of the garden and its programs;
  • And then there are the educators, organizations, businesses, and others who provide skills, knowledge, and resources to enhance your garden efforts.
  • And more!

Once you finish your list, put down your pen, take a step back, and grin-what an incredible network of people and groups it takes to pull off a successful season at your garden! Now if there are only a few names on your list - don't worry - it's not too late to expand your network so that you prevent overworking the few involved. But even if you already have strong support for your garden, it's always beneficial to examine your connections. Look at your list again. 


Where are the gaps? How is the strength of your connections? How can you enrich your efforts through diversifying your group? Right in your community there are common sense connections (neighbors, school administrators, gardeners with special skills) and unlikely avenues (workforce readiness programs, business sponsors, retirement communities) - GO, EXPLORE!


Join us this spring at a location near you for an opportunity to connect with fellow garden leaders, brainstorm the answers to these questions and more, and gather new ideas and tools for building your garden's network of support. For dates, locations, and online registration visit VCGN's Grow It! workshops

We are stronger when we grow together
Become a VCGN member!

Become a VCGN member to receive free seeds and materials, gain access to funding and technical support, and receive discounts at garden retailers and for workshops.


Any community or school based garden is eligible to join, with membership fees based on garden group size and structure. For more information on how to sign up and membership eligibility, visit our website.

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, Program Manager
Carolina Lukac, Garden Education Specialist
Denise Quick,  Community Teaching Garden Instructor
Livia Donicova , Communications Intern/Newsletter Editor
In This Issue


Be a part of 
the state's vibrant community and school garden network.
We need YOUR help to keep growing gardens, gardeners, and garden leaders.
Thank you!  
Upcoming Events

Fifth Annual Burlington Seed Swap - Saturday, March 14, noon to 3 p.m. in the Memorial Auditorium Loft, Burlington (upstairs from the farmers market)


beCAUSE Craft Show - Saturday, March 14, 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. at St. Michael's College, 132 Campus Road, Colchester. Big thanks to Community Teaching Garden graduate Joanne Kalisz of Happy Fantastic Designs for donating half of her profits for the day to VCGN! Please buy lots of her adorable baby and children's clothing, handbags, and fun accessories!  


The Brick Church Music Series Benefit for VCGN: Bob Amos and Catamount Crossing - Friday, April 10, doors open at 6 p.m. at the Old Brick Church in Williston  

Burlington Area Community Gardens PotluckSaturday, April 11, 5:30pm at the Miller Recreation Center (130 Gosse Court, Burlington) Join community gardeners to kick of the gardening season with great food and company. The guest speaker is Michaela Ryan of New Village Farm and a great silent auction will benefit the BACG scholarship fund. Bring a dish to share and your own plate and cup.


Farm to School Curriculum Workshop Monday, April 13, 4:30-7:30pm at Bingham School in Cornwall. ACORN and VT-FEED will be hosting a "working session" where educators bring their ideas and questions, learn about ways to address the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, and have time and space for supported curriculum planning. Workshop fee is $20, a light dinner will be served. Pre-registration is required. Email Emily Hoyler at to register or for more info.



RootSkills workshops for grassroots leaders - April 10-11 in New Bedford, Mass. Join fellow community innovators activists for a day of skills-sharpening, designed especially for the grassroots! Come celebrate community action, share stories, learn and reflect on different skills that make us successful. The registration fee is $95 and includes all events (Friday dinner, reception, lodging, Saturday breakfast, lunch & workshops) OR $40 for Saturday workshops & lunch. Scholarships and limited childcare stipends are available. More info.


Check our events page to stay up to date.


Register for our 2015 Community Teaching Garden Class in Burlington!

The Community Teaching Garden (CTG) is a fun, hands-on, adult beginner organic vegetable gardening course in Burlington. Participants learn how to plant, cultivate, harvest, and preserve fresh vegetables in a fun and supportive learning environment.
Classes are held twice a week from May through September at two locations, the Ethan Allen Homestead
and Tommy Thompson Community Garden at the Intervale.
Read more and register here.


Upper Valley Farm to School Mini-Grant  - Vital Communities is offering grants to public and private schools to cover any farm-to-school related costs. Applications submitted before March 13 will be given priority. More info


GROW - The New England Environment Fund is partnering with VCGN, offering $1,000-$3,500 for school and community gardens to increase capacity, collaborate and leverage impact. Applications accepted until March 15. More info.


Vermont Community Foundation

 - Small and inspiring grants help foster the spark and hope that keeps Vermonters healthy and happy in all those ways. Grant awards are $500-$2,500 for projects that connect people to each other through volunteer work or community-building efforts, connect people to the environment around them in new ways, and bring people together and provide opportunities for positive social interaction and benefit. Application deadlines: April 1, and June 1. More info.



SEED (revolving deadline) - New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) is offering grants of up to $1,000  for community-based  projects. More info. 


For more grant postings visit our Grants page.

Vermont Flower Show
VCGN had the pleasure of exhibiting our work at the Vermont Flower Show at the end of February. A big thank you to our staff and volunteers for participating in this exciting weekend!

Check out these pictures from the event!

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Vermont Community Garden Network | 802-861-4769 |