We are excited to announce the relaunch of our GrowTeam program this Spring!

GrowTeams empower people with access to community, mentorship, land, tools, and harvest, with the goal of reconnecting folx with their ancestral right to grow food for themselves. We believe in removing socio-economic barriers to food and land, building resilient communities, inter-communal sharing of resources, moving away from capitalist structures towards self-sufficiency, and aiding historically marginalized people in achieving sovereignty. In 2021 we are deepening our pursuit of uplifting and empowering disenfranchised Vermonters with two new sister programs:  The BIPOC GrowTeam, and The Restaurant Worker GrowTeams

The BIPOC GrowTeam

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. 

We are very excited to announce that we will be collaborating with Candace Taylor at Conscious Homestead in Winooski, Vermont, to bring the BIPOC GrowTeam to life! At Conscious Homestead, Candace has built an Urban Farm and Wholeness Retreat Center designed by and for BIPOC people, so this was the perfect partnership. She will be joining ShiftMeals’ as our BIPOC GrowTeam Farm Mentor and lead all farming-immersion education. 

Candace Taylor, Conscious Homestead

Winooski is the most racially diverse community in Vermont, and up until recently, was considered a food desert, or an area with limited access to affordable and nutritious, fresh foods. The Abenaki people originally named the town Winooski because wild onions grow along its river banks, and the word Winooski translates to “Land of the wild onions.” The Winooski River has long been a part of the Indigenous foodways in this region, being a source of an abundant variety of foods, plant medicines, and natural materials for making fibers, tools, and utensils. Hosting the BIPOC GrowTeam at Conscious Homestead in Winooski allows us to reach more Black and brown communities, connect with Abenaki people, and help close the access gap to farm-grown food and community-land spaces.

It is an honor to contribute to the development and growing movement of BIPOC affinity spaces throughout the state, made by and for Vermonters of color, that prioritize community, resource-building, safety, wellness, healing, love, self-determination, and the success and preservation of Black and brown futures. Please join us, seek refuge, and celebrate being in community with other BIPOC-Vermonters, while collectively stepping into wholeness and reclaiming BIPOC food and land sovereignty. 

To achieve this vision, we must redistribute wealth and resources into communities of color and uproot structural racism. Are you ready to redistribute wealth towards BIPOC? Support these fellowships by donating here.

Restaurant Worker GrowTeams

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 accessible schedules. While Vermont prides itself on our high quality, farm to plate cuisine, many folx working within this industry do not have access to the same level of nutritious and local food themselves. The global pandemic that we face right now deems service industry workers as essential, yet as a state we do not treat our service industry workers this way.

The Restaurant GrowTeams operate as a benefit to these service industry workers, as a dependable source of food, a space to escape from the high stress restaurant environment, to heal, meditate, make friends, reconnect with the Earth, and learn to grow food for themselves. 

We are teaming up with partners across the state of Vermont to provide garden access in four Vermont communities. In Burlington we’re partnering with Carolina Lukac of Vermont Community Garden Network at Tommy Thompson Community Garden, in downtown Montpelier our GrowTeam is co-hosted with The Everything Space.  GrowTeams in the Upper Valley at the Center for Transformational Practice  and Stowe area are in development, please stay tuned for the most up to date information on how and where to participate on a GrowTeam in 2021!

Carolina Lukac, Vermont Community Garden Network

Ready to get involved? We invite all of you to join ShiftMeals by investing back into our communities, uplifting those who have traditionally been ignored, and building a safe and nourished Vermont. If you’re passionate about bringing people together to grow food and community, send us an email. The world needs more gardens and gardeners!

Can you support financially? DONATE HERE.

Want to  join a 2021 GrowTeam? Or help spread the word? For more information visit ShiftMeals.org/join-our-grow-team.