Mission: To support and grow the state's vibrant network of community-based gardens. We support vermont's community and school garden groups with technical assistance, leadership training, resources, and funding, and provide hands-on food and garden education for all ages. Our vision is a vibrant local food system where vermonters of all ages experience the benefits of community-based gardening and become healthier through improved diets, exercise, and positive social interactions.
Programs: Vcgn's timely resources, small grants, expert technical assistance, and high-impact trainings provide local groups with tools to make positive change in their communities. In 2016, the green thumbs at work program provided small businesses grants and planning support to establish food gardens that increase employee wellness through physical activity, stress reduction, and increased access to fresh produce. More than 200 people at 11 sites benefited from the workplace gardens. The gardens for learning grant and technical assistance program supports summer programs serving food insecure youth at affordable housing sites, schools, and community health centers. At least 154 youth participated in weekly programming at 9 sites. We also distributed bundles of seeds and resources to 280 school and community garden groups, serving thousands of youth and adults. The 4th annual day in the dirt engaged nearly 300 volunteers at 16 different garden sites. These programs, as well as vcgn's outreach and connections for garden groups, impact tens of thousands of vermonters.
over the course of the 2016 season, more than 200 people participated in vcgn's hands-on garden education programs through 129 workshops, classes, and activity days in the burlington area. Key programs include the community teaching garden, a 22-week beginning gardening course for adults; expanded partnership with the vna family room to provide twice weekly garden-based activities for low-income and new american families; senior, intergenerational, and veterans gardening programs in partnership with hands; and support for gardens at affordable housing sites in partnership with champlain housing trust.
this year we took our statewide garden leadership program, grow it! In a new direction. Spring workshops focused on building organizational skills for garden leaders and fall workshops were paired with public forums focused on the management of community-based garden infrastructure, namely composting. 121 garden leaders and compost advocates representing 70 different community and school garden sites gained practical tools, ideas and resources to implement new practices in garden volunteer coordination, improve underutilized compost systems, and make changes to their work to improve community and school gardens in vermont. These workshops, combined with online resources and on-demand technical assistance boosted the capacity of hundreds of garden groups around the state