The Glowing Garden of Glover, at Glover Community School, recently installed new infrastructure as it nearly tripled in size. This year, the garden was one of 40 statewide recipients of a $1,000 mini-grant for infrastructure improvements.
Improvements started this spring by expanding the garden to its current 50- by 50-foot print and composting the entire site. Composting, tools, storage and watering have been challenges the grant has helped overcome. The school was able to purchase and install tool storage to improve access for the children while working in the garden, a water storage tank to ease watering in the hot summer months, building two compost bins for all garden scraps and weeds, and getting the right size tools to help students work in the garden.
Students helped celebrate a new season of gardening with the school's annual Garden Dedication Ceremony and all of the Sprouts After School Programs hard work. The Sprouts After School Program helped by starting seedlings, measuring, mapping, planning and planting portions of the garden this year. At the dedication ceremony each class in the school helped plant several crops. These events help increase the students access and awareness to fresh local foods.
This garden season has been a busy one, with the new infrastructure, planting, and maintenance. Andy Testo, Chris Geiger and Karen Szely, three UVM Extension master gardeners have helped planting, weeding and installing the infrastructure during two volunteer work days. So far this season, there has also been two days of work crews coming in to power wee the garden back into shape. Three families signed up this year to adopt the garden for a week.
The new expansion and infrastructure should greatly improve the access to fresh local foods throughout the year for all the students at Glover Community School. All of the food harvested goes directly to the food service staff to incorporate into daily meals. Volunteers are encouraged to help with the garden.
The mini-grant program is funded through a Food Production Education grant awarded to the Vermont Community Foundation and Friends of Burlington Gardens by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Sen. Bernie Sanders secured the federal funding to make the grant possible. Information on school community gardens is available by visiting www.burlingtongardens.org. Community members interested in helping maintain the newly expanded garden should contact Glover Community School at 525-6958.