Seniors grow gardens

The Vermont Community Garden Network is a nonprofit dedicated to helping people start and grow their own gardens.

The food grown in the gardens reaches neighborhoods, schools and food shelves, feeding thousands, said Jess Hyman, executive director of VCGN. VCGN offers “hands-on” garden education classes for families and a community teaching garden.  Throughout the year the organization will put on different events and fundraisers.

“One of the most important things about what we do is growing food together,” Hyman said. “It’s more than just feeding people, it’s about building community.” Hyman said Day in the Dirt is the “biggest and most fun event” they put on all year. It is a city-wide volunteer day where teams of volunteers work in garden sites throughout Burlington.

“There is a huge amount of volunteer power with over 120 people working on the gardens and the organization raises a lot of money to continue to help more garden groups,” she said.

 

For the last three years, VCGN has partnered with UVM’s community development and applied economics department’s public community capstone class, Hyman said.

“Capstone is a service-learning course that pairs groups of students with nonprofit and municipal community partners to develop professional-level integrated communication strategies and materials,” according to the UVM registrar.

Deniz Sehovic is one of the seniors involved in the capstone course working with the network. “Our partner, Jess Hyman from VCGN, has been nothing but supportive, motivating – always maintaining faith in the ability of our team and providing a wonderful opportunity for personal and professional growth,” Sehovic said.

The team of five seniors that have been involved with VCGN also worked on sponsorship, communications and event planning for Day in the Dirt, Hyman said.

Kristin Tedeschi is another one of the seniors involved. “It’s been a great experience working with a nonprofit,” Tedeschi said. “Everyone should work with a nonprofit, it changes your outlook on how business and organization works.”

Hyman said they could not do this event if it wasn’t for the partnership with UVM. “The students do a great job,” Hyman said. “They bring a lot of energy and ideas to the event, and it gives them a really strong, hands-on event planning experience.”

This year, Day in the Dirt will take place May 9. If you are interested in getting involved with Day in the Dirt, check out, VCGN’s website. You can also donate to VCGN, volunteer or sign up for the teaching garden class.