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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”