School Gardens in Burlington
Every school in the Burlington School District has a garden, ranging in size from 5 raised beds to the half-acre Healthy City Youth Farm. Each garden is unique in its construction, management, and use. In total, these vibrant educational sites grow thousands of pounds of fresh healthy food for students, school cafeterias, and educational activities.
The Burlington School Food Project provides guidance and oversight for all district gardens and directly manages the Healthy City Youth Farm at Hunt Middle School and the Burlington High School Gardens. Other schools manage garden programs through committees, after school programs, or dedicated teachers and parents, coordination with Burlington School Food Project.
The Burlington School Food Project is Vermont’s largest farm to school program, offering wholesome, fresh and nutritious food daily to more than 4,000 students in the Burlington School District. More than 30% of the annual $1.1 million food budget is sourced directly from local farms and producers, earning the district national recognition.
Healthy City History
Healthy City started at the Intervale in 2002 as a summer employment and life-skills training program for at-risk youth. The program included a large-scale gleaning effort, harvesting 30,000 pounds of produce from 15 farms annually. In 2009, Healthy City moved to a new organizational home with Vermont Community Garden Network (formerly Friends of Burlington Gardens), which established the half-acre farm site at Hunt, and increased outreach support to Burlington school gardens. This move dramatically increased curriculum connections to school gardens, and strengthened institutional support for farm to school activities in the district. The Youth Farm now provides programming for 380 students and summer programs in collaboration with the New North End Youth Center. The site features 50 production beds, a large raspberry patch, and a cob flatbread oven. Burlington School Food Project took on full management of the Youth Farm at Hunt in 2013.
We is grateful for all the staff, volunteers, funders, business sponsors, individual donors, and community members who helped the Healthy City program grow and evolve into what it is today – fully integrated in the Burlington School District and part of the coordinated efforts of Burlington School Food Project and its partners.
The Vermont Community Garden Network continues to be a resource for the city’s school gardens and is proud to partner with Burlington School Food Project to increase the impact of school gardens in the community.
Click here to learn more about the history of school gardens in Burlington. (Lots has happened since the info was compiled in 2007! Look for updated info on the BSFP and VCGN websites later this spring.)