Starr Farm Collective Garden

We are welcoming an inaugural cohort of garden members in May 2024!

VGN is looking to our community to help us kickstart a second collective garden in the New North End of Burlington. In a collective garden, a group of people work the land as a community, growing crops together and sharing the harvest. By working together we are able to produce a greater amount of food within a smaller footprint and allow one another the opportunity to navigate life’s busy schedules by spreading out the work load. Collective gardening is an opportunity to increase access to fresh food and overcome barriers to growing food. 

If you are an aspiring gardener who wants to grow food within a collective model, we invite you to join the Starr Farm Collective Garden! Membership is limited to ten individuals who will receive a full scholarship for this inaugural year.  Read more about this opportunity below and click here to apply. Applications are due April 26.

How It Works 

  • VGN staffs a Garden Manager and Garden Mentor to organize logistics and material needs for a team of ten garden members to tend to the garden on a weekly basis
  • Garden members share the harvest and take home weekly shares
  • The gardening season runs from May 1 to October 15
  • Enjoy the benefits of collective gardening: flexibility, mutual support, friendships.  When many people share a garden space, we are each able to take time off and trust that someone else is taking care of the garden, we meet new people and form meaningful relationships while weeding, and we go home with nourishing food!

Garden Description

The Starr Farm Collective Garden is located within the Starr Farm Community Gardens which features lake views, picnic tables, and neighboring access to the dog park, bike path and beach. The collective garden space features:

  • 2,000 sq ft to grow annual vegetables + herbs + flowers
  • Existing perennials such as raspberries, honey berries, rhubarb, asparagus, and a variety of pollinator species
  • A newly furbished shed fully stocked with high quality tools
  • A location that is out of the flood zone
  • Fence to mitigate deer pressure
  • Ample free car parking, easy access to the bike path or a 12min walk from a bus stop on North Avenue

Becoming a Garden Member gives you access to:

  • Materials
    • All gardening inputs, including: compost, soil amendments, seeds, plant starts, fertilizers, pest management sprays
    • An assortment of essential gardening tools, including: long-handled tools, hand tools, pruners, scissors, broadforks, watering cans, collapsible hose, quality watering wand
    • Helpful gardening supplies, including: trellises, twine, row cover, weed mat, low tunnel for season extension, harvest strainers
  • Mentorship
    • Garden mentors lead weekly work shifts to provide guidance in following the task list, support to answer questions, and maintain continuity between each shift.
    • Learn by doing: members acquire gardening skills by working alongside each other, with hands in the soil.
    • Opportunities to participate in in-depth workshops such as food preservation, making herbal salves, and more.
  • Harvest
    • Weekly: Most seasonal produce is harvested and distributed during weekly work shifts.  Members dedicate 2hrs of physical work in the garden in exchange for taking home harvest.
    • Pick Your Own: Some crops are available for pick-your-own on a flexible schedule.  Members can visit the garden anytime to harvest crops such as lettuce, kale, spinach, chard, culinary & medicinal herbs, and flowers.
    • Bulk: A handful of crops are harvested all at once and then equitably distributed among members during community work days or on a pick-up basis.  Storage crops may include: potatoes, fall root vegetables, and winter squash.
    • Food as medicine: (dependent on the collective’s interest) VGN can host workshops where we make large batches of lacto-fermented vegetables and herbal remedies for members to take home. These workshops may have a small fee associated to help with materials.
  • Community
    • Monthly meet ups are much-loved gatherings to celebrate the harvest season, share recipes, and enjoy each other.
    • A phone text messaging group keeps garden members connected and serves as timely communication for garden-related announcements.
    • If you hurt your back and cannot shovel another wheelbarrow of compost, speak up and someone else will do it.  If you will be traveling for the month of July and absent from weekly garden shifts, let us know so that we can plan accordingly.  By gardening as a group we are able to support one another and keep the garden healthy and productive throughout the season.

Member Expectations:

  1. All members must sign up for a 2hr weekly garden shift, from May to October. The tentative schedule for weekly shifts is Monday and Wednesday evenings (4-6pm) and Friday mornings (7-9am). Show up ready to dig your hands in the soil!
  2. Participate in Garden Opening (Saturday, May 4, 1-4pm)  and Garden Closing (Saturday, October 12, 1-4pm). These are important days to come together as a community and accomplish bigger garden tasks.
  3. Join a once a month community gathering. Monthly gatherings may include a weeknight potluck, workshop such as food preservation and herbalism, or a communal work day where we can work on larger projects.
  4. Take home harvest for your individual consumption.  When there is extra harvest (as the season progresses, there often is!), we encourage you to take home more harvest to share with your broader community
  5. Keep up with garden member communication, through group emails, a Shared Google Drive folder, and an (optional) group phone text thread.  You should expect weekly communication from the garden member team to confirm upcoming dates, share friendly reminders on systems we have in place, and many other timely announcements that help keep our collective garden running smoothly

Membership Fees:

Garden membership is limited to ten individuals who will receive a full scholarship for this inaugural year. This opportunity is made possible by the  Conservation Legacy Fund Grant which was awarded to VGN on behalf of the City of Burlington. This grant is allowing us to expand our mission-aligned work to support gardeners and increase access to nourishing food, while simultaneously emphasizing climate resiliency and socio-ecological adaptability.   

Everyone is welcome to apply. We will be giving preference to individuals who are historically underserved in our communities.  Click here to apply. Applications are due April 26.

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