Vermont Community Garden Network Bulletin

October 2013  

"Gardeners, I think, dream bigger than emperors." ~ Mary Cantwell 
VCGN is enjoying a fruitful harvest season bringing community and school garden leaders together for the Grow It! Garden Leader Fall Workshop series, which wraps up in Bennington on Oct. 24th. Also, we held a delicious Feast for the Gardens fundraiser dinner, which was a great success thanks to our donors, volunteers, and friends. There's another opportunity to celebrate this wonderful time of year at the free Garden Harvest Party this Sunday, Oct. 13 in Burlington!

October is national Farm to School month. More than 140 of Vermont's schools have school gardens. These rich educational sites provide a hands-on connection to where food comes from and inspire a lifetime of healthy habits. Additionally, Farm to School programs provide nutritious food for children while supporting local farmers. On Oct 16, the Vermont Farm to School Network is coordinating a
Local Crunch for Lunch to celebrate this growing movement in Vermont.

Also on Oct. 16, VCGN is co-presenting a free showing of A Place At The Table at UVM with a panel discussion and special guest Roger Doiron of Kitchen Gardeners International. Join us to hear from local leaders in the fight against hunger in Vermont and learn what YOU can do to make a difference.


In This Issue
"Beet" us to it and make your annual donation today!
Garden Harvest Party - Oct. 13 in Burlington
The Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders
Grow It! Workshops
A Place at the Table Film and Panel Discussion
Thank You for a Great Feast!
Donations for Gardens
Garden Grants


Please help us meet the growing need!   

Our annual fundraising appeal letters are going out soon. You can "beet" us to it and make your donation online today. This will save paper and postage and give you the immediate satisfaction of knowing you are helping grow more gardens and healthy communities. 
$5, $50, $500... Any amount helps.

Please go to and make your contribution today Thank you!

Community and school gardens provide access to healthy food to more than 16% of Vermonters!  That's 100,000 Vermonters who benefit from community and school gardens! The demand for more garden space and training is growing every year.

VCGN teaches Vermonters how to grow their own food, and we help local groups start and boost their garden programs. Evidence shows that gardening is the first hook to a lifetime of healthier food choices, and in turn a more vibrant local food system. And, studies show that when kids learn to grow their own food, they make healthier life choices overall. VCGN is working hard to meet this growing demand.

We are so grateful for the individuals, businesses, foundations, partners, and volunteers who support our work. You can be a part of this movement, too!


HarvestGarden Harvest Party 
Celebrate the harvest with fellow gardeners and the Vermont Community Garden Network, Burlington Area Community Gardens, VNA Family Room, New Farms for New Americans, and City Market.

3-5 pm at Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington

Bring a garden-inspired dish to share for the potluck. There will also be a corn roast, smoothie bikes, sack races, face painting, raffle and more.

New Farms for New Americans is providing rides to the party leaving from Franklin Square in the New North End at 2:45pm and AALV/VNA Family Room in the Old North End at 3pm.



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

Before your gardens enter their seasonal dormancy or several months of low-key growing (for you four-season gardeners) and before your gardeners scatter to the far reaches of your community and enter a hibernation of their own, take the time to reflect on the season that's past. As a group, discuss the season's challenges and successes.  When considering your season's challenges, problem-solve in a way that builds your garden's resiliency-seek holistic solutions that evolve with the needs of your community and the demands of the climate, that use your garden's strengths, and that make your garden more robust for another year to come.   


A great venue for gathering input and ideas as well as weaving in end-of-season needs is a fall work party and community meal. Invite gardeners, volunteers, and others who have contributed to the garden throughout the season. Additionally extend an open invitation to anyone who is interested in your garden's future. Over a shared meal, celebrate your season's accomplishments, discuss its challenges, and brainstorm ideas for the garden's future.  This diversity of perspectives may be just what your garden needs to open up new solutions and build your garden's resiliency for another year to come.  Click here for more thoughts on resiliency in the context of community gardens.


Barre Grow It! workshop

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


Our final workshop is Thusrday, Oct. 24 at Mt. Anthony Union Middle School in Bennington from 4-8pm. Call (802) 861-4769 for more info and register today.


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.



A Place at the Table - Film and Panel discussion 

Wednesday, Oct. 16 (World Food Day) at UVM Davis Center Sugar Maple Ballroom (4th floor) 


A Place at the Table is riveting film that tells the story of hunger in the United States. Join us for a reception, film showing and panel discussion on ways organizations and communities are helping to solve hunger issues here in Vermont. Co-sponsored by Gardener's Supply, UVM Food Systems Initiative, UVM Extension, Burlington Food Council, Vermont FEED, COTS , Hunger Free Vermont, Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, and VCGN.

Free tickets, pre-registration preferred:

5:30 - 6 PM - Reception 
6 - 7:30 PM - Film 
7:30 - 8:15 PM - Discussion

Introduction: Will Raap, Founder, Intervale Center, Gardener's Supply & Restoring Our Watershed

Panelists: Rob Meehan, Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf; Faye Conte, Hunger Free Vermont; Rita Markley, Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS); Tyler Doggett, Assoc. Professor of Philosophy, UVM; and Jess Hyman, VT Community Garden Network


FeastFeast for the Gardens Fundraiser Dinner

A fun filled evening made possible by our garden friends and sponsors

By Jocelyn Morin 

Photo by Melissa Pasanen

Graced with beautifully sunny and warm weather, we had the perfect day to celebrate harvest season with good food, music, and company. Saturday, September 28th, the Vermont Community Garden Network held a wonderful fundraiser dinner at the Intervale Center in Burlington. The Feast for the Gardens brought together 65 community members, local chefs, volunteers, and VCGN board and staff.  


The evening began with tours of VCGN's Community Teaching Garden and Tommy Thompson Community Gardens, led by the Teaching Garden students. Afterwords, lively music from duo High-Low-Jack (Sarah Hotchkiss and John Mowad), filled the air as guests enjoyed hors d'ouevres including house-made mortadella and summer sausage from Guild Fine Meats, VCGN's garden-fresh sage and kale pesto on Klinger's bread, Intervale Community Farm carrots with hummus, and a "Beet Tartar" from Crop Bistro. The tasty treats were accompanied by a special Garden Party beer created by Zero Gravity craft brewery for the event using Arethusa Farm carrots, Digger's Mirth blue hubbard squash, sweet gale, and herbs.


After a brief welcome by VCGN Executive Director Jess Hyman and Board President Will Workman, guests filled the community barn, which was transformed into a cozy and rustically elegant dining room. The tables were beautifully set with plates from ReSource, silverware from First United Methodist Church and cloth napkins donated by April Cornell. The centerpieces were beautiful arrangements of garden herbs and flowers made  by our staff and volunteers. Also, each table featured home-made dill pickles from our Community Teaching Garden students.


Once everyone settled in their seats, the salad course was served. Farmer/Chef Mara Welton from Half Pint Farm made a delicious butter lettuce, heirloom tomato, and marinated Burrata salad. For the main course, Chef Dennis Vieira from Nika served grilled flank steak with wood roasted squash from Intervale Community Farm and kale from New Farms for New Americans. Chef Tom Bivins from Crop Bistro created delicious vegetable dishes, including herb roasted local fingerling potatoes and a root vegetable medley, to complement the main course. During dinner time, hard working volunteers served food, bussed tables, and refilled water glasses, but all had plenty of time to mingle with guests and sit an enjoy the feast.


Melissa Pasanen enjoys a glass of Garden Party harvest gruit created for the event by our friends at Zero Gravity.
Photo by Pam Chomsky-Higgins

As people finished dinner, Robin Burnett, the Chef Instructor for VT Works for Women Fresh Food program, introduced a trio of garden-inspired desserts: candied beet chocolate cupcakes, sweet corn cake with smoky pumpkin and pear mousse, and puffed rice and apricot halvah. Everyone enjoyed their desserts to more great music by High-Low-Jack. As the night began to come to a close, VCGN Board Member Kit Perkins spoke to the happy crowd about VCGN's work and encouraged supporters to spread the word about VCGN's impact on local food security and strong, healthy communities. 


This delightful evening of local cuisine, great music and fun would not have been possible without the help of our many garden friends. A huge thank you goes out to all the chefs, volunteers, board members, event partners, and guests for supporting VCGN and school and community gardens around the state!    



These restaurants, breweries, farms, organizations, businesses and service providers are committed to creating healthy and positive change in our community. We are proud to collaborate with them on the Feast for the Gardens!

MENU PARTNERS: Crop Bistro * Guild Fine Meats * Nika * Half Pint Farm * Zero Gravity Craft Brewery * VT Works For Women Fresh Food  


EVENT PARTNERS: Intervale Center * Gardener's Supply * Burlington Area Community Gardens * American Flatbread Burlington Hearth * Localvore Today 


INGREDIENTS & SUPPLIES PARTNERS: Intervale Community Farm * April Cornell * First United Methodist Church * Red Wagon Plants * Klinger's * ReSource * New Farms for New Americans * Paul Mazza's * Vantage Press * Waggy's Store & Deli  


Donations for Community and School Gardens


Thanks to generous donors, we have a variety of free items for community and school garden groups. Please contact us at (802) 861-4769 if your garden can use any of the following items. They can be picked up in Burlington. (Shipping is available for a small fee.)


Seeds! We have a variety of vegetable, flower, and herb seeds courtesy of High Mowing Seeds and Ferry Morse.


Drip Irrigation Supplies donated by a Charlotte garden friend.


Perennial Flowers  donated by American Meadows.


Organic Gardening (not just) in the Northeast: A Hands-On Month-by-Month Guide by Harry Homeyer, donated by Vermont Public Radio.


If you have tools, seeds, plants, wheelbarrows, benches, shed, or other garden supplies that you would like to donate, please contact us.  


See our website 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
 Jocelyn Morin, Communications and Outreach Intern (newsletter editor)

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