Community Engagement

Vermont Garden Network offers community programs with help from partnerships across the state! These programs are designed to connect specific populations to gardening education and resources.

Senior Horticultural Therapy  

Through a partnership with HANDS we work with residents in senior living and long term care facilities on gardening activities which increase social interactions and daily exercise while improving memory recollection.  This program empowers seniors through activities which enhance quality of life and health. 

Growing Food, Growing Community

We work with Champlain Housing Trust and Evernorth  to plan, develop and support the success of community gardens at affordable housing sites in several counties across Vermont. We develop new garden sites by engaging residents and site staff in collaborative planning and design. Throughout the season we offer on-site technical support, hands-on garden workshops, seeds and plants, and educational newsletters for residents to support gardener success and encourage community building.

Gardening for Health

In collaboration with the University of Vermont Medical Center we are piloting a program to teach people how to grow food and change health habits – including physical activity, healthy eating and mindfulness.  Through support from the UVMMC Foundation we offered free introductory gardening courses for people with Diabetes and associated risk factors in 2020 and 2021, and will offer a spring course in 2022 for patients in the Pain Management and Cancer Departments.  We are working to scale the program for broader audiences (and additional locations) in the future. 

Co-op Victory Garden

We joined ShiftMeals, Skinny Pancake’s COVID response initiative, by becoming one of 7 food access gardens and farms across Vermont . We reclaimed our stewardship of a garden site at the Tommy Thompson Community Gardens in the Intervale, and turned it into a highly productive, volunteer-driven, collaboratively managed, mini market garden to meet the program’s goal “to develop access to land and gardens for Vermonters who are experiencing unemployment and food insecurity.” 

Urban Agriculture & Leadership Program 

In partnership with New Farms for New Americans, we have embarked on a three year project (2021-2023) to implement a comprehensive farmer-to-farmer training program.  We designed an advanced garden curriculum to respond to farmer interest in learning about Vermont-specific agricultural techniques, such as season extension and pest management.  For VGN, this partnership offers an opportunity to broaden our season-long garden education programming to include urban agriculture at the community farm-scale and to work alongside the resettled refugee community.  The “Teacher’s Garden”, a 2,000 square foot demonstration plot we inaugurated in 2021, allowed us to explore new agricultural techniques and showcase best practices such as weed management, increasing crop yields, and seed saving culturally-significant crops.  

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