Vermont Community Garden Network Bulletin

January 2012 



Sowing the seeds for 2012


We recently started some seeds at the FBG office in our new Vermont Indoor Garden! The micro-greens are up and it's amazing how a little shot of color helps warm up a cold winter day and offers up the promise of the growing season to come. 2012 is certainly off to a great start with a new Community and School Garden Track for garden organizers at the NOFA-VT Winter Conference Feb. 10-12, statewide mini-grants, and expanded local programming. This edition of the VCGN Bulletin is full of news, resources, and events. Enjoy your garden planning and we hope to see you soon! 

In This Issue
Special Workshops for Garden Organizers
Help Grow More Gardens, Fresh Food, and Healthy Communities
Profile: Aquaponics at the Champlain Senior Center
Garden Organizer Resources, News, and Inspiration
Funding Opportunities
Upcoming Events


Register Now for the Community & School Garden Track
at NOFA-VT Winter Conference Feb. 10-12 


Friends of Burlington Gardens is partnering with NOFA-VT to offer a special workshop series for garden organizers at the Feb. 10-12 Winter Conference in Burlington.  

Community and School Garden Track workshops:

  • Community Garden Organizing 101
  • Soil Health Q & A
  • The Kitchen Garden: Strategies for Abundant Harvests in Small Spaces
  • Dig In! Connecting Gardening with Standards-based Education
  • From Space to Place: Connecting Gardens and Community
  • Success with School Gardens During Summer Vacation 

There will also be a lunchtime networking session with four info/activity stations: Linking Gardens to School Food Service, Garden Art, School Community Gardens, and a Garden Advice Booth. This will be a great way to meet fellow garden organizers, ask questions, and get some fun ideas for 2012.


Held at the University of Vermont, the conference features a wealth of other workshops and activities of interest to farmers, homesteaders, gardeners, and garden organizers. You can register for the full weekend, or for just the Sunday Community and School Garden Track. The cost is only $60 for one day and $115 for two, with discounts available for NOFA-VT members, farmers, volunteers, and early-bird registration. Register on the NOFA-VT website. 


FBG is offering sponsorships for garden organizers to cover 1/2 the cost of Sunday registration. The deadline is Jan. 22. Click here to apply.


Donate by credit card or PayPal

FBG Annual Fund needs you!  


Our 2012 annual fund is underway and we need your support to help us meet the needs of garden organizers all over the state.  

Please consider a donation today - any amount makes a difference!  

And if you are able to make a larger gift, those funds will go even further thanks to a generous challenge grant from the Jane B. Cook Trust that matches individual donations of $500+ and corporate donations of $1,000+. This is a wonderful way to make an even bigger impact with your gift!  



Featured Garden Project: 


Senior Center on Cutting Edge with Aquaponics 

By Russ Elek


"Aquaponics is the integration of hydroponics and aquaculture," explained Drew Burns, the driving force behind the new system at the Champlain Senior Center in Burlington, Vt.


Burns explained that each system on its own is wasteful; hydroponics needs a water supply and constant nitrogen fixing while aquaculture requires water change-outs. "Aquaponics creates a symbiotic closed loop system," Burns said. "Fish waste is like steroids for plants."


The Champlain Senior Center serves five meals a week. Eighty percent of those served are below the poverty line. Recently, the center instituted Fresh Food Tuesdays, in which local Chef John Benjamin prepares meals with fresh, local ingredients. Burns said the center staff wants to grow their own food for the meals, but they couldn't raise enough money to put in raised garden plots last spring. Burns didn't give up on the fresh food vision. After some research, he came across aquaponics. Click here to read the full story 


 Garden Organizer Resources, News, and Inspiration

Tips for organizing through the winter Five simple strategies for getting engaged and planning ahead over the winter.


Community & School Garden Track at NOFA-VT Winter Conference

Community & School Garden Track features workshops designed for garden organizers and educators with a focus on community-based food production. Crossover topics like Soil Health Q&A, The Kitchen Garden, and From Space to Place, will also appeal to home gardeners, small-scale commercial producers, and community organizers interested in local food issues.

Vermont Indoor Gardens: The easy and affordable way to start your seeds

Friends of Burlington Gardens has a great selection of two-tier, three tier, or four-tier indoor gardens for sale. The indoor garden units are excellent for seed starting and are well suited for home or school use. Each indoor garden comes with a free timer and 10 seed packs. The prices are great and all proceeds benefit Friends of Burlington Gardens. 


New book: Northeast Fruit & Vegetable Gardening by Charlie Nardozzi
This new book specific to growing in the Northeast addresses the climate, soil, sun, and water conditions that affect growing success and includes advice for extending the growing season. 


Check out these two new garden projects for connect homeless gardeners:


A community garden for housed and homeless San Franciscans provides a safe haven to grow food, access green space and celebrate community.  


Maui's Community Work Day Program plants community garden at homeless resource center Ke Hale A Ke Ola, a homeless resource center in Maui, has a new garden thanks to a CDC grant and the Community Work Day Program. The center serves as a link to helping clients with medical health, mental health, childcare, vocational rehabilitation, and financial aid.

And some good garden news:  


Gardener finds lost wedding ring on carrot

A Swedish woman discovered her wedding ring on a carrot growing in her garden, 16 years after she lost it!     


32 New York City community gardens turned over to Brooklyn Queens Land Trust  

More than a decade after saving scores of community gardens from the auction block, The Trust for Public Land has signed over the deeds to 32 gardens to the Brooklyn-Queens Land Trust. To date, TPL has invested more than $4 million in improvements to 69 gardens, which cover nearly eight acres and are worth more than $7 million.

Garden Funding Opportunities 


VCGN Garden Flood Relief Grants 

Who may apply: Community and school gardens affected by Irene-related flooding.
Details: Thanks to a generous Irene Recovery Fund grant from the Vermont Community Foundation, these grants will help community and school gardens affected by flooding rebuild safe and secure food production sites. 

Amount: $100 to $1,000 to cover soil testing, soil amendments, replacement fencing, infrastructure for new garden sites, and technical assistance

Deadline: February 17, 2012

More Info:


Windham Foundation Grants

Who may apply: Non-profits with active programs in Vermont

Details: Since its founding in 1963, the Windham Foundation has provided more than $10 million in grants to non-profit organizations to serve its mission of "promoting Vermont's rural communities". Particular emphasis is given to projects which enhance the unique qualities of Vermont's small town life, support its natural and working landscape, sustain Vermont's social, cultural and natural resources or preserve Vermont's history and traditions while enhancing day-to-day community life.

Amount: $2,000-$3,000,compelling projects with larger requests considered

Deadline: February 17, 2012

More Info:


Mantis Tiller Grants  

Who May Apply: K-12 teachers, educators, garden coordinators, parents, and interested parties.  

Details: In the past, winners have included schools, churches, correctional facilities, parks departments, youth camps, community gardens, and many others. Applicants must operate a charitable or educational program that is not-for-profit. The tiller may not be used as a prize for fundraising (e.g., auction or raffle).

Amount: 25 programs will each receive a Mantis Tiller/Cultivator with border/edger and kickstand, and their choice of gas-powered 2-cycle engine or electric motor. Total value  $349.00.  

Deadline: March 1st, 2012

More Info: 


Healthy Living Grants, Cabot Creamery

Who may apply: Schools with matching funds seeking to improve kids' health through exercise, nutrition and/or information.

Details: Cabot is an enthusiastic supporter of our communities' efforts to improve our kids' health through exercise, better nutrition and lots of fun knowledge. Cabot created the matching grant process to encourage schools to reach out to their own local businesses, cooperatives, parent clubs and others. Doing this supports sustainability for the initiative, provides awareness about a school's new healthy living idea and encourages participation by community members.

Amount: matching funds of up to $200 for any qualifying program

Deadline: open, requests due at least 6 weeks before funding is needed

More info:






Garden and food events coming up in Vermont: 

Friends of Burlington Gardens and Vermont Community Garden Network events  

Burlington Permaculture events and workshops   

City Market workshops  

NOFA-VT events and workshops  


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. 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

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