GrowTeams

Empowering communities through collective gardening
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GrowTeams, our collective community gardening program, empowers individuals to reclaim their food sovereignty by providing access to land, tools, mentorship, and team to share the garden work. Everyone has a right to reconnect with their ancestral intelligence and agency in producing food for themselves, but many of us are prohibited from growing food due to lack of land, start up costs, and know how. 

Interested in joining a GrowTeam for this upcoming Spring, Summer and Fall? Learn about the current sites below and sign up today!

2021 GrowTeam Sites

Interested in joining a GrowTeam for this upcoming Spring, Summer and Fall? Learn about the current sites below and sign up today!

BIPOC GrowTeam | Winooski, VT

The BIPOC GrowTeam is made by and for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Vermonters to engage with Afro-Indigenous practices and ways of growing food for themselves and their communities. BIPOC GrowTeam members will participate in art, social and educational programming, field trips, workshops, and foster community with other BIPOC-Vermonters and leaders in food and land stewardship work all while growing food together! Our garden kicks off with a 4-week paid fellowship program providing an opportunity for BIPOC to be financially compensated for their leadership in building community food and land sovereignty. 

Click here to sign up!

Restaurant Worker GrowTeam | Burlington, VT

The Co-op Victory Garden is located within the Tommy Thompson Community Garden, at the Intervale, in Burlington.  A variety of vegetables, culinary & medicinal herbs, cutting flowers, and small fruits are grown for co-op members in a 2,000 square foot plot.  The Vermont Community Garden Network manages the program with the goal of establishing a living example of a collectively tended garden where intensive growing techniques, shared resources, and a mentorship program enable more people to grow nourishing food, together.  

The Co-op Victory Garden welcomes full season members from April-October and monthly members to join activities on a month-by-month schedule.

Full season co-op members commit an additional 2-4 hours per month on a flexible schedule for activities such as shed inventories, cleaning tools, watering on weekends, and various other garden projects.  Experiencing the garden landscape and engaging in hands-on activities from April to October immerses members in all aspects of establishing and maintaining a thriving organic garden.

All co-op members work in exchange for seasonal garden harvest. Members are also invited to monthly make-and-take workshops in food preservation and herbalism to learn how to process garden harvest to stock their pantry and medicine cabinet.

Click to sign up for this GrowTeam location >>

Restaurant Worker GrowTeam | East Montpelier, VT

The Garden Project, created by The Everything Space, is located on the land of the Western Abenaki peoples at the confluence of the Winooski and her North Branch, currently known as East Montpelier, VT. We are a group of mostly Queer and AFAB folks, many of whom identify as cis or cis-passing, some who identify across the Trans spectrums.

Collectively we tend a biodiverse half-acre garden where we strive to be in embodied practices of connection, learning, healing and repair with one another, the land, and the non-human peoples we are in ever-evolving relationship with. We are in active practice with ourselves and with each other around unsettling, anti-racist and decolonial work. We center our values and work in food and social justice, decolonization and embodied reckoning with settler-colonial privilege, ancestral reconnection, and right relationships with all of life

In the 2021 season we are grateful and proud to be a ShiftMeals Grow Team site. With this partnership, we will continue to do the work of collaboratively growing a more nourished, resourced and equitable community; in the garden and in the lives and lands that we are woven with.

Click to sign up for this GrowTeam location >>

Restaurant Worker GrowTeam | White River Junction, VT

The Center for Transformational Practice works to support the region’s transition to a just and sustainable culture  through advancing inner transformation as the foundation for positive social change. CTP resides on Abenaki land near the confluence of the Connecticut and White Rivers on a small parcel of land located  next to Ratcliffe Park in the downtown of White River Junction, Vermont. We recognize our great privilege to be in  relationship with this land and look to permaculture and regenerative design principles to steward the thriving of the  plant, animal and human communities. 

CTP is home to layer chickens, ducks, bees and many native and cultivated species of fruit trees, berry bushes, perennial  herbs, vegetables and mushrooms. It is also occupied by three humans, a cat and an assortment of wild creatures.

The heart of the work on the land at CTP is to cultivate a connection to one’s internal landscape while tending to the  external ecosystem.

Click to sign up for this GrowTeam location >>

Restaurant Worker GrowTeam | Stowe, VT

We are happy to be in partnership with Stowe Community Gardens to host our GrowTeam at Mayo Farm in Stowe!

All GrowTeam members work 2-4 hrs a week in exchange for seasonal garden harvest and will be part of collectively creating our garden space!

Click here to sign up if you are interested in this location >>

Restaurant Workers GrowTeams

Project Led by: Samantha LeVine

Service-industry workers in Vermont make up one of the largest occupations, yet have one of the lowest-average income earnings. Service-industry jobs often do not have benefits, lack job stability and/or accessible schedules. These preexisting issues have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and have shown that we must do more to protect our local service-industry workers.

ShiftMeals’ GrowTeam model serves as one tool to protect service-industry workers in Vermont. By engaging folx already working within Vermont’s food system, we will increase local food security by providing more community-access to land, as well as knowledge on how to grow bountiful produce from the garden. 

Participating on a GrowTeam will empower folx to grow food for themselves and build more resilient and collaborative communities through hands-on work in the garden, workshops, and knowledge-resource sharing.

BIPOC GrowTeam 

Project Led by: Zymora Cleopatra Davinchi and Jaya Touma-Kajatt Shoatz

The BIPOC GrowTeam forges a space specifically designed by and for BIPOC-Vermonters interested and invested in food and land stewardship work. BIPOC-Vermonters will engage with Afro-Indigenous knowledge and rituals to grow food for themselves and their respective families. 

The BIPOC GrowTeam will also provide free educational-social programming rooted in food, land, climate, and racial justice activism in the form of classes, workshops, field trips, guest speakers, presentations, readings, and more.

GrowTeam participants should leave feeling empowered with culturally-relevant, life-sustaining skills and wisdom, as well as newfound community and summer-fall harvest.

Collective Community Gardening – Join the Movement

In addition to our GrowTeam gardens, we are partnering with collective gardeners near and far to build a movement of growing food together. Gardening together is fun and builds community. Sharing resources like land, tools, and energy saves money and reduces barriers. Food grown by friends and neighbors is the most delicious.

Meet This Year’s Farm Mentors

Candace Taylor (she/her/they/them)

Candace Taylor (she/her/they/them)

BIPOC GrowTeam | Winooski, VT

Candace, creator of Conscious Homestead is a land steward, yoga practitioner, herbalist, urban homesteader and ancestral cook. Candace is committed to living with not over the land, centering wholeness and radical love. 

Since 2014, Candace has had one dream, to open a BIPOC Urban Farm and wholeness retreat in Winooski, VT.  Seeking out land in Winooski was a challenge but in 2020, Candace pivoted from looking outward for a space to build their vision and decided to convert their own small family urban homestead into a shared space for BIPOC to connect to the land and nurture their individual and collective wholeness.

Carolina Lukac (she/her)

Carolina Lukac (she/her)

Restaurant GrowTeam | Burlington, VT

Carolina’s role as a garden educator for Vermont Community Garden Network, combines her passion for growing nourishing food with the opportunity to facilitate meaningful learning experiences for folks of all ages and backgrounds.  Her work in the nonprofit world began with designing educational programs for urban agriculture initiatives in her native landscape of Mexico City. 

Now, almost 15 years later, community-based gardens across Vermont have become the focus of her everyday, along with caring for her toddler son, raising backyard chickens, and growing an abundance of food and medicine for her family.

Elisabeth Cadle

Elisabeth Cadle

Restaurant GrowTeam |White River Junction, VT

As a mother, teaching artist, earth keeper, permaculture designer, labyrinth facilitator, response team volunteer, and independent contractor, Elisabeth is exceedingly grateful for a life that fosters creativity, contemplative practice, community service and the work of relearning and remembering.
She has co-founded several efforts to bring education, beauty, and free food to the community through the Upper Valley Apple Corp, Latham Works Food Forest Trail, The White River School Labyrinth Garden, and The Center for Transformational Practice in White River Junction, VT where she is the land coordinator and has resided with her family within the community for the last decade.
Elisabeth is humbled and eager to learn from who and what might emerge this season and to build relationships that honor wholeness and justice.

Amanda Franz (they/them)

Amanda Franz (they/them)

Restaurant GrowTeam | East Montpelier, VT

Amanda has been the on-the-ground garden logistics coordinator and visionary since the inception of the Everything Space Garden Project.

Their education of growing food and medicine is experiential and embedded in relationship. They currently hold the roles of garden mapping, tasking, leading and coordinating loose ends for the Garden Project, and actively seek to support members’ education to enable them more autonomy in the garden. Amanda brings their skills of curiosity, empathy and clear communication in working with and welcoming folx in the garden.

Julie Loosigian

Julie Loosigian

Restaurant GrowTeam | White River Junction

Julie is originally from southern NH and spent her childhood running around her grandparents’ vegetable farm. After her time at Antioch University New England in Keene, NH, where she studied advocacy, forest ecology, and conservation biology, she was the lead educator at Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center in East Thetford, VT. She is thrilled to be a part of the team at Sweet Beet Farm in Bradford, NH, part of the Kearsarge Food Hub, which works to “reinvigorate [the] community within a restorative local food system through cultivating food sovereignty, growing engaged learners, and nurturing community.”
Julie strongly believes in the magic of community gardening and in growing food in ways that are reciprocal with the earth, and she is eager to learn from and grow delicious food with folx this season.

In 2020, we were able to: 

  • Get over 100 pairs of hands into the earth at 7 different farms and gardens across the state of Vermont.
  • Receive plant starts and seed donations from 17 different farms!
  • Support 16 different community partners using produce to provide fresh food and meals to their communities.
  • Host 8 educational workshops for GrowTeam members from medicine making to pickling and hot sauce making!
  • Help grow and harvest over 50,000 pounds of produce!

To learn more about last year’s impact, view our GrowTeams 2020 report. 

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This Year’s Harvest Brings More Than Food — It Brings Community: Reflections from GrowTeam Manager Sammy

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Center for Grassroots Organizing’s “Northstar Collective”

The Northstar Collective was created in partnership with The Center for Grassroots Organizing in Marshfield, Vermont by GrowTeam members to continue stewarding the land and learning about agriculture. With the guidance and support of their team leaders they created a...

Starting a Collective Community Garden at Bluffside Farm

Bluffside Farm, connecting with the shores of Lake Memphremagog in Newport, Vermont, contains woodland, recreational trails, beaches, idyllic pasture and cultivated farmland. For the past two months, in partnership with the Vermont Land Trust, our ShiftMeals GrowTeam...

ShiftMeals GrowTeam Expands into Reciprocal Food Economy Providing Land Access to Vermonters

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The Skinny Pancake to extend their ShiftMeals program by launching several “Victory Farms” across Vermont

The Skinny Pancake is launching a new initiative called the ShiftMeals GrowTeam in response to Vermont’s increasing food insecurity related to the COVID-19 pandemic. An extension of their ShiftMeals community meals program, ShiftMeals GrowTeam invites unemployed...

“I want to grow my own food forever, and teach others. I feel 100% more comfortable growing food. I eat cleaner and pay more attention to what I am eating.” 

Sharon Newman

VCGN GrowTeam member

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