Vermont Community Garden Network Bulletin

August 2011



Welcome to the NEW Vermont Community Garden Network Bulletin!  

The VCGN Bulletin provides exciting garden-based news, resources, and events for 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


Happy gardening!


Jess Hyman, Executive Director

Friends of Burlington Gardens & the Vermont Community Garden Network

Bulletin Contents
Breaking News: Late Blight is Back in Vermont
School Community Garden News & Tips
Survey Says... Community Gardens are Good for You!
Garden Funding Opportunities
Upcoming Events
VCGN Facebook Contest - Win a Slick Hat!


Late Blight is Back in Vermont  

Check your garden now and take action to prevent the spread of this damaging pathogen 


UVM Extension Photo 

Ann Hazelrigg from UVM Extension reports that the fungus-like organism that wreaked havoc with tomatoes and potatoes in 2009 is back again this summer in Vermont. Phytophthora infestans, the pathogen causing late blight of tomatoes and potatoes, was identified this week in the University of Vermont Plant Diagnostic Clinic on tomato foliage from a garden in Jericho. It is assumed the disease originated from infected volunteer potatoes in the area.

Late blight spreads quickly and identification and control is especially import in community gardens.  
Read more about late blight, what to look for, and what to do if you find late blight in your garden. 


School Community Garden News & Tips  


The 40 school community groups across the state who received $1,000 mini-grants to create and enhance their gardens have done tremendous work this summer. Their reports and photos are coming in and we are thrilled with the passion, creativity, and joy that has gone into these projects. Stay tuned for more photos and stories from the gardens on our website.



During a recent site visit, garden coordinator Marianne Barthel looks over the Bradford Elementary School garden guidebook designed by Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Jim McCracken. The guidebook helps parent and student volunteers learn how to grow and harvest fresh produce from the school community garden. The Bradford Elementary School garden is one of 40 mini-grant recipients statewide funded by a federal grant secured by Friends of Burlington Gardens and the Vermont Community Foundation.


School Community Garden Tip #1: Grow Herbs for School Kitchens 


This summer, partners in the Burlington School Food Project set out to grow crops in each of the district's 10 school gardens that would be served in the lunch lines throughout the school year.  


Herbs are a good crop for school gardens of all sizes.  Low maintenance perennial herbs such as oregano and thyme are the key to success. The strong flavors go a long way so they are generally used in small quantities. They also have few pests and can be harvested every few weeks throughout the season instead of daily. But most importantly, our school chefs have been requesting herbs to jazz up meals and increase student acceptance.


Initially students in the Healthy City Summer Program and food service staff vacuum sealed and then froze the herbs. But after more conversation and some trial and error, we are now turning to drying the herbs and making blends, such as Italian seasoning mix. This will be especially handy in the  fall when the Burlington School Food Project introduces all-Vermont-beef meatballs and crumble mixes!



From left, Healthy City Participant Aden Haji, Intern Jessie Schmidt, Program Director Jenn McGowan, and Americorps VISTA Kelly McLemore pose with the colorful displays.

School Community Garden Tip #2:
Have Fun!


Art activities are a great way to engage students with the gardens. 


Local artist, activist, and Burlington School Food Project dynamo Bonnie Acker worked with teens in FBG's Healthy City summer program to create larger-than-life vegetables, fruit, and pollinators to use as teaching tools at the Healthy City Youth Farm at Hunt Middle School.    


Survey Says... Community Gardens are Good for You!    


Denver Urban Gardens and the Colorado School of Public Health have worked together since 2004 on the Gardens for Growing Healthy Communities community-based research initiative to explore how gardens, as neighborhood places, support healthy living. Jill S. Litt and colleagues found that overall, community gardeners eat more fruit and vegetables than home gardeners and people who do not garden.

The team also found that community gardeners cultivate relationships with their neighbors, are more involved in civic activities, stay longer in their neighborhoods, eat better, and view their health more positively. In fact, people who garden found their neighborhoods to be safer, cleaner and more beautiful than non-gardeners, regardless of educational and income status. The co-benefits of gardens stem from their ability to support healthy eating and active living. More than 50% of gardeners meet national guidelines for fruit and vegetable intake compared to 25% of non-gardeners. Gardeners report they get 12 hours a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity, which is about 30% more exercise than non-gardeners get. All this comes as no surprise to those involved with community-based gardening and garden education - but it's nice to have the data to prove it!  



Garden Funding Opportunities 


Herb Society of America Donald Samull Classroom Herb Garden Grant

Who May Apply: 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.

Details: Five awards for indoor window sill herb gardens, including pots, soil, seeds and educational materials. Four awards of $200 "Seed Money" to establish an outdoor herb garden.

Deadline: Sept. 1, 2011 with awards announced November 15, 2011. 

More info:


Green Education Foundation and Gardener's Supply Green Thumb Challenge
Who May Apply:
Schools and youth groups who submit chronicles of their garden projects. The award is designed to support the continued sustainability of an exceptional youth garden program that has demonstrated success, and has impacted the lives of kids and their community.  Amount: $5,000  Deadline: Sept. 30, 2011  More Info: 


TKF Foundation National Awards Initiative for Integrated Design and Research

Open Space Sacred Places: The Healing Power of Nature Awards
Who May Apply: Teams with the intent to study and communicate the impact of urban public greenspace on users
Amount: Funding pool of $5 million
Deadline: Planning grant Sept. 1, 2011, awards grant deadline Feb. 2012
More Info:   



Upcoming Events

  • Reserve your tickets now for the annual Corn Roast & Veggie Ball, Sunday, Sept. 11, from 4:30 to 7:30 at Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington. Join us to celebrate the harvest and enjoy a scrumptious veggie feast, roast corn, and music and dancing with Jenni Johnson and friends. Tickets are $20 ($10 for 12 and under); $25 after Aug. 26.
  • City Market in Burlington is hosting food preservation, cheese making, and herb workshops through the fall. See the full calendar.
  • Season Extension and Summer Projects in the Garden workshop, 3-6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14, at Red Wagon Plants, 2408 Shelburne Falls Road in Hinesburg. And check out Red Wagon's August planting guide for late-season planting and harvest tips. 



Join the VCGN Facebook garden community
and enter to win the perfect garden accessory:
an "I Dig Earth" hat! 

Now through the end of August, anyone who "likes" us on Facebook and posts a photo of a school, community, or neighborhood garden will be entered to win a hat.

Find us on Facebook 

There will be three prize drawings: Aug. 15, 22 and 29.
Enter as many times as you like.

We hope you like the new VCGN Bulletin format and we welcome comments and suggestions. Don't forget to send in your garden news and events to share with our growing network of more than 1,300 school and community gardeners all over the state. Please include a web page link to help direct readers to the information source.

The Vermont Community Garden Network is hosted by Friends of Burlington Gardens, a nonprofit organization supporting school, community and neighborhood gardens in Burlington and across Vermont. For more information, visit our web site at or contact FBG at:
  Friends of Burlington Gardens
  180 Flynn Ave Studio 3
  PO Box 4504
  Burlington, VT 05406-4504
  (802) 861-4769

We'd love to hear from you!
Jess Hyman, Executive Director
Jenn McGowan, Program Director
Jim Flint, Founder & Project Director
Denise Quick, Community Teaching Garden Instructor
Kelly McLemore, AmeriCorps VISTA

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