A group of incoming Lyndon State College first year students kicked off their first-year experience by volunteering at the St. Johnsbury Community Farm on Aug. 26. With some crops needing to be trimmed, weeds to be pulled, vegetable harvesting and additional construction on a garden shed, a group of eager students were sent to work. The students dedicated four hours to completing a number of these assignments. With the assistance of Frank Carlet, a volunteer from the community, students transformed the garden shed into an all-purpose structure with a bench and storage space. The students offered their own artistic touch by creating a festive garden mural to a blackboard sign that will be used to list available produce.
"The Community Farm appreciates all community volunteers ... they are the key to the garden's success," said Heather Burt, garden coordinator and director of the St. Johnsbury Area Local Food Alliance (ST. J. ALFA) adding that the "garden depends on volunteer help such as what these students are offering here today."
The students' input helps further the Farm's mission in providing free locally grown organic food to the surrounding community. "We deliver a variety of fresh vegetables to local meal sites and the St. Johnsbury Food Shelf," said Janet St. Onge, a garden coordinator.
Through their community service time, the LSC students were introduced to a new environment and were provided an opportunity to contribute to the community, which, in effect, helps others obtain free fresh locally grown food. Freshman Kieran O'Brien offers that "Lyndon State College encourages students to take that extra step and contribute to a place they can now call home."
The St. J. Community Farm is located on Old Center Rd. in St. Johnsbury. This is the only completely volunteer operated community agriculture project of its kind in Vermont. St. J. ALFA (Area Local Food Alliance), a grassroots organization, works to manage this project in which ALL of the food goes to project volunteers and the local food shelves and community meal sites. The project relies on volunteers to do all types of garden work in addition to delivery food, volunteer organizing, small construction, education and outreach. The project receive support, in part, from individuals and organizations such as Kingdom Community Services; church and civic groups; student groups from Lyndon State College and LEARN.
The garden is always open to volunteers. For more information call Melissa at the St. J. Food Co-op 802-748-9498 or email email@example.com. Visit us on facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Johnsbury-Vermont-Community-Farm/108039405908356, or http://www.facebook.com/stjALFA.
Submitted by Kieran O'Brien, Lyndon State College freshman, and Francis Carlett, community volunteer.