Empowering communities through collective gardening


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.

Restaurant 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 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.

We are still building out the GrowTeams programming beginning in May 2021. If you are excited about this and would like to get involved please fill out this form.

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. 

ShiftMeals GrowTeams Reflect and Plant Seeds for the Future

Back in March, with so many individuals unemployed due to the pandemic, our team began to think more holistically about how to provide both food and work to those experiencing food and job insecurity. Through the creation of GrowTeams, we were able to invite...

GrowTeam Garden Mentor Brings ShiftMeals Full Circle

Nando Jaramillo is the Garden Mentor for the Vershire GrowTeam site. When Nando is not in the garden, he is running Moon and Stars making traditional Colombian arepas and empanadas. Although he has a physical food cart where he makes his food, Nando considers Moon and...

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

One of the most powerful lessons I have learned through my experiences farming is about interconnectedness. Becoming more connected to land naturally makes me more aware of cycles; of seasons, of months, of life and death, and how these are reflected in my own...

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

ShiftMeals is excited to launch a new GrowTeam initiative which invites Vermonters onto local farms and gardens across the state to grow their own food. By providing access to land and education, ShiftMeals hopes to foster a more sustainable local food system and...

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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