Growing Together at Beacon Apartments

I’m Sharon Newman, Garden Coordinator for Chittenden County affordable housing, a partnership between VGN and Champlain Housing Trust (CHT). One site I have spent a lot of time at this season is Beacon, permanent housing for homeless residents, located in South Burlington. Back in March, as I did my pre-season check in, I noticed that the winter had taken a major toll on many garden beds at Beacon. Six beds were completely unusable, meaning many residents would not be able to garden.
Garden Supply Company donated a large raised bed, that many more people would have space to grow their own food. Once the bed was brought to Beacon, residents, friends, and VGN interns gathered to shovel soil from old beds into the new one. We took apart the broken down and unsightly beds (which residents used as kindling). We talked with residents about the importance of living somewhere that is beautiful for our mental health and well being.
Because there had been a pile of soil on the ground unused for two seasons, we planted a flower garden using donations from Red Wagon. One resident planted Forget-Me-Nots in honor of her husband who had recently passed. I feel that the joyfulness of having flowers growing outside resident’s homes can have a more positive impact on their lives than we know!
Recently, I returned to bring more plant starts. Gardeners had decided to make the new bed a shared space, so they could garden communally. I was thrilled to see the strong community growing around the gardens at Beacon, and the excitement of residents to be able to grow food together! And more donated beds are coming soon!
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