Vermont Community Garden Network
October 2014 Newsletter
"She had only to stand in the orchard, to put her hand on a little crab tree and look up at
the apples, to make you feel the goodness of planting and tending and harvesting at last." 
Willa Cather

October is National Farm to School month and last week, the Central Vermont Food Systems Council and partners celebrated reaching their "Garden in Every School" goal. It was inspiring to see how the council, together with school administrators, teachers, food service staff and students, and a host of local and state partners worked together to make sure that the county's 24 schools have rich, hands-on places for kids to grow and learn together. Now let's see a garden in every school in Vermont! 

The harvest season may be slowing down, but the incoming cold doesn't mean you have to completely abandon your garden! Check out this month's Toolshed Tip for some ideas to stay active in your garden as the fall cold comes in. We hope you are enjoying your beautiful and delicious crops and celebrating the fall harvest season! 
Garden Harvest Party

Thank you to all who celebrated with us at the Sept. 28 Garden Harvest Party at the Winooski Valley Park District's Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington. Laughter and cheering could be heard from the park entrance as children and adults played pumpkin checkers, sack races, corn hole, and ladder ball.  Continue reading...

SchoolA Garden in Every School! 

Congratulations to the Central Vermont Food Systems Council and Washington County schools for reaching their goal of a garden in all 24 of the county's public schools! Orleans County has done it, too, and Addison County is close. Now let's see a garden in every school in Vermont!

Here are a few quotes from this week's "Garden in Every School!"  celebration at Montpelier High School: 


"Because of the garden, the kids are getting more adventurous on the lunch line. They are more curious about the farms and where their food comes from. [The school garden] is their first connection to the local economy."
- Neha Shukla, Food Service Provider at Doty Memorial School

"A garden is that place where a child can learn lifelong skills that will make a difference."
- Joseph Kiefer, Central Vermont Food Systems Council


Why have a school garden? "To get hands-on and be healthy."

- Kesley, Student, Northfield High School  

And it was wonderful to see the support for school gardens - and recognition of their importance for education, health, and community development - from the state agencies of Education and Agriculture, and the Department of Health.  


"We can learn incredibly powerful things from the garden."
- Rebecca Holcombe, Secretary, VT Agency of Education

"These gardens connect nutrition and education and the working landscape."
- Jolinda LaClair, Dep. Secretary, VT Agency of Agriculture

On the topics of eating healthy, getting outside, and getting exercise: "The one thing I can think of that combines all these things is the school garden."
- Karen Nelson, VT Department of Health


"The best place to have a community garden is at a school... You are on the cutting edge of showing the whole country how it's done."   

 - Jenny Nelson, Office of Sen. Bernie Sanders 

Grant Opportunities:

VT Agency of Agriculture's Farm to School Program Funding
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets has announced $49,000 available to fund schools interested in the integration of local food into cafeterias, classrooms, and communities. Applications due Oct 28.
More info.

Eat Well, Play More Grants - The YMCA State Alliance Initiative will award grants to schools for best physical activity and nutrition videos. Create a short video either demonstrating a current school program, or an idea for one, that will increase physical activity and improve nutrition to earn $3000. Deadline Oct 31. More Info.

SEED - VCGN 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. Applications accepted year-round. More info.

Fall Grow It! Workshops

The last Grow It! Workshop of the season is in North Bennington. Join community and school garden leaders from your region for this unique training series. Learn strategies to support growth, boost your garden programs, share stories and ideas, and celebrate this growing movement.
  • North Bennington, Oct 8 - The Village School of North Bennington: 9 School St., North Bennington, VT 05257. Takes place from 4:00-7:00pm and includes a light meal.
For more information, contact us at (802) 961-4769 or email Libby at  Click here to register.
The Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders

It's October and our gardens are slowing down. How do we transition from the season of abundance to the frostier months? Here are a few fun ideas for winding down without closing down the garden:

  • Fall Planting - This is the time of the year to plant garlic. Have a garlic planting party!
  • Continued Harvest - Bring gardeners together to celebrate frost tolerant plants like kale and Brussels sprouts.
  • Season Extension - Host a fall season extension workshop at your garden with some basic tips for covering crops with low growing tunnels.
  • Winter Planning - At your fall clean-up day, create crews to work on different areas and to take note of what needs to be fixed/improved in that area for next year.  
  • Overwintering - Don't forget about those crops you planted for spring harvesting! For underground crops, you could put up a sign that says "Shh, garlic sleeping here."

Whatever you do, it should be fun; take the time to enjoy and celebrate all of the hard work you put in this season!


Read the full Toolshed Tip here. 

Garden Spotlight

Vergennes Community Garden 

This summer we spent several days visiting community and school gardens in Southern Vermont. This month we are highlighting the Vergennes Community Garden here


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 2,000 gardens 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
Ann Pearce, Volunteer Coordinator/Admin
Denise Quick, Community Teaching Garden Instructor
Dory Cooper, Communications Intern/Newsletter Editor
In This Issue

"As the first tier of a healthy food system, [community and school] gardens are the places where people learn where their food comes from and experience the power of healthy soil."   
Read the full commentary from VCGN Board President Kit Perkins on


October is National Farm to School Month!

Schools across the country are celebrating the local food served in their cafeterias, the gardens in their schoolyards and the food and agriculture education happening in their classrooms.  

Check out the website for resources, ways to get involved, and even a chance to win $1000 for your farm to school program!


Join Us at These Upcoming Events:
Halloween at the Homestead - Oct 26

See the VCGN  website for
from around the state.
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