Vermont Community Garden Network Bulletin

September 2013  



"In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy."
   ~William Blake
Summer flew by and harvest season is a time for celebration! We hope you are enjoying the bounty of your spring and summer work. We are happy at VCGN to have been part of the learning experience for many gardeners this season through the Community Teaching Garden and our Grow It! Garden Leader workshops, which continues through October.

What are you harvesting this week? Share your photos and stories with other garden communities on our Facebook page.

Planning for next year? The application deadline for New England Grassroots Environment Fund's GROW grant is Sept. 15. 


In This Issue
Grow It! Workshops for Garden Leaders
Feast for the Gardens Fundraiser Dinner
The Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders
Growing a Community
Super Seattle
Get To Know Our Interns
Hold the Honey - Bring on the Pollen
Garden Grants
Upcoming Events


We are pleased to launch our new website and new look.

This year, we changed our name from Friends of Burlington Gardens to Vermont Community Garden Network, which has been the name of our statewide program since 2006. This reflects our mission to support the hundreds of garden communities across the state with technical assistance, training, resources, and networking opportunities. Meanwhile, our established local programs continue to provide fun, hands-on garden education in Burlington.


The new website is still growing. Be on the lookout for more information about the state's network of community and school gardens and new ways for garden leaders to connect to and learn from each other. We want to hear from YOU! Tell us what your garden needs to stay strong.


About the new logo

We worked with the fine folks at Stride Creative on our new logo and website. The logo is a fresh take on our work supporting garden communities and growing gardeners. It captures the quilt-like spirit of a community garden that comes from the diversity of gardeners, growing styles, and vegetables. The tall greens represent fresh growth and people coming together to grow, learn, and share. The three stalks are emblematic of community and school gardens' "third place" in our society - as the shared places where we gather to connect with each other and build resilient food systems and healthy communities.


Barre Grow It! workshop

The third part of our statewide Grow It!  series starts Sept. 16. The workshops, presented with Charlie Nardozzi and local garden partners, are a unique opportunity for local community and school garden leaders. The fall sessions focus on resilience and sustainability. 


Fall Workshop Schedule (4-8pm):
  • Newport: Monday, Sept. 16 
  • Hartland: Thursday, Sept. 19
  • Winooski: Wednesday, Sept. 25
  • Barre: Thursday, Sept. 26 
  • Bellows Falls: Tuesday, Oct. 1
  • Rutland: Tuesday, Oct. 8
  • Bennington: Thursday, Oct. 24

The Grow It! trainings are presented in partnership with Charlie Nardozzi, Highfields Center for Composting, UVM Extension Master Gardeners, Foodworks at Two Rivers Center, and local partners.  The workshops and related technical assistance are made possible thanks to the generous support of New England Grassroots Environment Fund, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Windham Foundation, Ben & Jerry's Foundation, The Bay and Paul Foundations, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.



Feast for the Gardens Fundraiser Dinner 


Join us at the Intervale in Burlington  on Saturday Sept. 28 for an evening of delicious food and fun. We'll be serving up a feast from the talented chefs at Nika Restaurant, Crop Bistro, Half Pint Farm, Guild Fine Meats and VT Works For Women Fresh Food, and Zero Gravity has created a special Garden Brew for the event.


The evening starts with tours of Tommy Thompson Community Garden and VCGN's Community Teaching Garden at 4pm followed by appetizers and drinks at the Intervale Center community barn at 5pm and the feast at 6.

Tickets are $80 each (additional donations welcome). Your contribution helps more people grow fresh healthy, food for their families and neighbors - and you get a great meal!


Buy your tickets here or by calling VCGN at (802) 861-4769.

Seating is limited, so please get your tickets today.

See you there!




The Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders 
By Program Manager Libby Weiland

Are you a garden leader?  

If you have been instrumental in your garden's site development, provided education in the garden, coordinated volunteers, helped to keep the garden in working order, raised funds for your garden project, or generally brought people together for the sake of your garden-then, yes, you are! Whether you have a title or not, your contributions to the garden are an essential part of what keeps your garden alive. And if you aren't involved in these ways, it's never too late to discover your role-the greatest garden leadership is the work of many acting together.


Your September Tip: While your garden is still in its full glory, take the time to invite neighbors, donors, sponsors, and local officials to visit the garden. This is a good way to thank the people who have made contributions and inspire new partnerships. This can also be a great opportunity for gardeners to take on leadership roles -- ask one of your dedicated gardeners (youth, if you're working with a youth or school garden) to give the tour; encourage enthusiastic gardeners to show off their gardens and prize-winning vegetables! And don't forget about snacks. Even an impromptu sampling of fresh herbs or a simple dip with fresh veggies will make a big impression on your visitors.


Stay tuned for next month's tip and click here for more details on the fall segment of VCGN's 3-part Grow It! Garden Leader Workshop Series at seven sites around the state. 


CTGGrowing a Community in the Garden

By VCGN Intern Erin Anderson

The Community Teaching Garden is a place of learning, sharing, and growing. Though learning the fundamentals of organic gardening is the main goal of the 22-week course, it is not the only form of growth that occurs. As a result of the supportive, encouraging environment created by the teacher, interns, and students, the program grows much more than food; it creates community.


This year there are 18 students in two sessions taught at the new Tommy Thompson Community Teaching Garden site. The original site, located at Ethan Allen Homestead, is undergoing soil remediation and will be open again in 2014.


Eager gardening students from Burlington and the surrounding area come together twice a week for the Vermont Community Garden Network program. They join the class for various reasons, whether it is live more sustainably, fuel their love for cooking with their own vegetables, spend more time outdoors after a long day working at a desk, or maybe to meet new people. Despite the differences in how people are drawn to the program, they bond over a shared interest in learning how to grow their own food. Sharing ideas, questions, knowledge, food, and friendship leads to an improved sense of community, encouraging students to use their new skills to help others.


The Community Teaching Garden a place that fosters lasting connections. Shelley Hart of South Burlington and Anu Arora of Essex Junction met each other for the first time in May when they were paired up for the class. They started the season as strangers and, together with their fellow students, developed a friendship that extends outside the garden. "I love the garden, belonging somewhere, and being part of this group," Shelley said. "This class surely fulfills the requirements for human happiness."


The Community Teaching Garden program is wrapping up another successful season and the students have become the teachers! They recently presented on topics ranging from container gardening to urban homesteading to mosquito and tick diseases and prevention - a topic that hit close to home for gardeners, as they sat in the garden with mosquito head netting.

"For the longest time, I have wanted to have a garden, but the logistics made me worried," explained Anu. "Now that I have seen the whole cycle, from putting in the seeds to harvest, I know it can be done. And I've gotten to meet more people. Before taking this class, I had no idea how much help is available to new gardeners."   

What is it about the garden that makes growing a community so natural? Maybe it has to do with meeting twice a week and holding each other accountable for the status of weeds and harvest. Or maybe it is the companionship that inherently accompanies an unfamiliar situation, where everyone is sharing in learning something new. It could also be the efforts to carpool and bike home together for a safer ride at night. It might be the efforts to look after each other's plots when someone is away for a few days. After-class drinks on Thursdays help, too.


Whatever it is, is working. The students complete the course with not only a new or renewed sense of accomplishment in gardening after producing and harvesting their own delicious, fresh vegetables, but also a better sense of what community means. You can never have too many communities to call home, and every May the Community Teaching Garden starts a fresh season of both vegetable and community growing.


Click here to learn more about the Teaching Garden and read the weekly blog. 



Super Seattle
Dan Cahill and Jess Hyman share their experience at the ACGA conference
Last month, VCGN Director Jess Hyman and Burlington Land Steward Dan Cahill attended the annual American Community Garden Association (ACGA) conference in Seattle. Together they wrote an article about their incredible experience learning about community gardens in the Seattle area, drawing many comparisons between Seattle and Burlington gardens. Discover more about Seattle's P-Patch program, greenway gardens, and a growing non-profit, City Fruit. Also, find out what Jess and Dan learned during various workshops about Urban Agriculture, Mentoring for Community Gardening, and Integrated Pest Management. Read the article from the Burlington Area Community Gardens newsletter here 


VCGN Interns

Thank you to our summer interns and a welcome to our fall intern


As summer is coming to a close, we say goodbye and a huge thank you to our three summer interns, Erin Anderson, Liz Berman, and Dave Littlefield. The infectious excitement, hard work, and artistic eye Erin contributed to every project she worked on this summer made her a joy to have with us. In her last month with us, Liz continues to complement our team with her thoughtfulness, her careful eye for detail, her knowledge and know-how, and the joy she brings to working with people. From day one Dave has been a self-starter, who, through his video process and product shows attentiveness, creativity, valuable technical skills, and a passion and commitment to building garden community. The three of you truly made our summer VCGN team what it was and we wish you the best of luck to come!

Jocelyn making seed packets for VCGN's outreach table at last week's Summervale.


We would like to welcome our new Communications and Events Intern, Jocelyn Morin. Entering her senior year with a major in Community and International Development and a minor in Food Systems, she is very excited to join VCGN. After graduation she hopes to work on international food security issues.




Garden News 


Hold the honey; bring on the pollen

Native bees are tough, hard workers in the garden - and they have a sweet side


With native bee populations in danger due to environmental degradation and habitat fragmentation, biologist Anna Beauchemin works with bee keeping in a new way. Anna, who is a 2012 Community Teaching Garden graduate, created bee-friendly gardens in front of the Archibald Neighborhood Garden in Burlington. The flowers attract a wide variety of native bees, which play a vital role in our food system. 

Full Article 


Garden Grants


GROW - The Vermont Community Garden Network (VCGN), Highfields Center for Composting and the New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) are partnering to provide grants of up to $3,500 with deadlines of March 15 and September 15 for Vermont-based school and community gardens and compost project. More info  


SEED - The Vermont Community Garden Network (VCGN), Highfields Center for Composting and the New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) are partnering to provide grants of up to $1,000 with a revolving deadline for Vermont-based school and community gardens and compost projects. More info 


Small Grants Program for Congregations Doing Faith-Based Initiatives to Transform the Food System - The Presbyterian Hunger Program offers grants from $100 - $1000. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. More info  

Awesome Foundation's Food Chapter - Every month, one $1,000 micro-grant will be given for an awesome idea involving food. The more inventive, the better. More info  


Espoma Environmental Stewardship Award - National Gardening Association and Espoma are offering 5 awards to home gardeners who demonstrate excellent environmental initiative by incorporating environmental stewardship practices to their garden design.More info 


Whole Kids Foundation - Grants for school garden programs in a variety of settings: urban or rural, indoors or out, in the windowsill, on the wall or in the schoolyard. No matter where you plant them, gardens help kids understand that food doesn't come from a can or a box-but from the magic of a seed.  Next application window: September 1 - October 31, 2013 (recipients announced Spring 2014). 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. We want to find and support projects in every town in Vermont where a small grant can make a big difference.  More info 


NGA Kids Gardening Grants - National Gardening Association's grant program for youth gardens. More info 


Donald Samull Classroom Herb Garden Grant - The Herb Society of America, as a recipient of a bequest from the estate of Donald Samull, has established herb garden grants for teachers in grades 3 through 6. Mr. Samull was an elementary school teacher who used his love of herbs in the classroom with his students. These grants will ensure that his tradition of using herbs with students will continue for years to come. Public and/or private 3rd through 6th grade teachers, with classes of a minimum of 15 students may apply for an indoor or an outdoor herb garden grant.  Application deadline is October 1, 2013.  More info 


Captain Planet Foundation - The Captain Planet Foundation primarily makes grants to U.S.-based schools and organizations with an annual operating budget of less than $3 million. Grants are made for activities that conform to the mission of the Captain Planet Foundation which is to: promote and support high-quality educational programs that enable children and youth to understand and appreciate our world through learning experiences that engage them in active, hands-on projects to improve the environment in their schools and communities. Deadlines are September 30 and January 31.More info


EventSave the Date:    


Here's a sampling of garden events coming up this month. For more events from VCGN and our partner organizations, visit our website.  



Sept. 6:

UVM Plant & Soil Science Seminar Series:  Changes in bacterial and fungal communities across compost recipes, preparation methods, and composting times. More information. 


Sept. 8: The Fourth Annual Growing Local Fest, Montpelier, noon-6pm. The Best of Central Vermont in a One Day Celebration. The best local food, music, art, entertainment and farm and garden demonstrations that make our region great. More information. 


Sept. 15:12th Annual Small Farms Food Fest, Shelburne Orchards, 11 am - 5 pm. This traditional celebration is jam-packed with taste-testing foods from local farms and food producers, a wonderful lineup of Vermont musicians, delightful tractor hayrides, a cool Tractor Petting Zoo, the a-mazing haybale maze, great facepainting, ropemaking, neat apple prints, and lots of info available about interesting area organizations. More information. 

Sept. 15:
High Mowing Seeds Trial Walk, Wolcot, 3:30-5 pm. Join High Mowing Organic Seeds' Trials Manager, Gwenael Engelskirchen, for a free guided walk. The trials field serves as a rigorous testing ground for selecting the more than 900 varieties of stand-out vegetables, herbs and flowers.  More information.   

Sept. 15: Tour de Farms & Shady Rill Concert, Champlain Orchards, Shoreham. Tour de Farms is a glorious day of great food, stunning scenery, toe-tapping music, and the camaraderie of bicyclists on 10, 25, and 30-mile routes. More information. 

Sept. 16: Free Herbal Consultations at City Market, Burlington, 4:00-7:00 pm  
Have you ever been interested in using herbal medicine to improve your health? Join Betzy Bancroft RH (AHG), Larken Bunce MS, and Guido Mas´┐Ż RH (AHG) and students from the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism in a free, personalized session focused on your individual constitution and any health conditions you may be experiencing.
 Check out this and other city market events. 


Sept. 17: Backyard Composting, Archibald Neighborhood Garden, 28 Archibald St., Burlington, 5:30-7pm. Learn how to turn your food and garden scraps into nutrient-rich compost! We will learn how we can make great compost at our community garden, and in your backyard. This workshop will be led by Marge from The Chittenden Solid Waste Department. Please RSVP for this workshop by emailing


Sept. 22: Fiddleheads, Lamb's Quarters, Nettles and Nuts: Wild Edible, Medicinal, and Poisonous Plants. Stratford, 1:00-2:30pm. Can someone really become immune to poison ivy after drinking milk produced by a goat that has eaten that plant? What did young Quaker women use for rouge when their parents forbade them from wearing makeup? Which has more vitamin C-a glass of orange juice or a glass of pine needle tea? On this walk we'll share Colonial and Native American folklore and information to learn about the myths and realities concerning the use of wild edible, medicinal, and poisonous plants. More information. 


Sept. 28Feast for the Gardens. Join local chefs from Nika Restaurant, Crop Bistro, Half Pint Farm, Guild Fine Meats and VT Works For Women Fresh Food and Zero Gravity craft brewery and the Vermont Community Garden Network for this fundraiser dinner at the Intervale Center in Burlington from 4-8pm. More information. 
Tickets available here.


Thank You to our Donors and Supporters 

We are so grateful for the individuals, businesses, funders, partners, and volunteers who support our work to grow vibrant garden communities.

You can be a part of this movement, too! Please make a donation today to grow more gardens and healthy communities.


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
Jessie Mazar, Garden Educator
Liz Berman, Garden Education Intern
Jocelyn Morin, Communications and Outreach Intern (newsletter editor)

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