Double or Nothing - 1974 expansion

BACG History Post #12

Community Gardens Ad - Burlington Free Press - 1974
Gardens for All kicked off the 1974 season with a gamble on growth. Community gardens in the greater Burlington area multiplied from a dozen sites in 1973 to 23 sites in 1974. Tommy Thompson led the effort to recruit volunteer chairpersons for each site. Gardens for All promised to prepare the sites, publish newsletters for participants, and provide resources.

Community gardening was promoted as an inflation-fighting strategy. Gardeners were asked to make a voluntary contribution to support the Gardens for All effort. However, no one would be turned away for lack of finances.

Each garden site was independent and free to develop its own rules and policies. Contact numbers for site chairpersons were published in the Burlington Free Press and local weeklies. The chairpersons at each site registered gardeners, collected Gardens for All donations, and provided registration information to Tommy Thompson.

Judi Loomis and James Lynch - Gardens for All - plants - 1974
For the second year, Gardens for All secured donations of free vegetable starts from Bonnie Plant Farms, one of the country's major plant suppliers.

The donated plants were distributed in May at Battery Park in Burlington and at the UVM jughandle off East Avenue.  

The owner of Bonnie Plant Farms, J.S. Paulk, had visited Gardens for All during the summer of 1973. Bonnie Plant farms in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, and Florida grew 400 million plants a year. 

Paulk was interested in working with Garden Way Associates to distribute plants to create community-school gardens nationwide.

Gardens for All sites - 1973 - Burlington Free Press
The new garden sites established in Burlington in 1974 included:

Medical Center (Corner of East Avenue and Colchester Avenue)

East Avenue Jughandle (UVM)

St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral (Pearl Street)

UVM Extension Service garden specialist Ted Flanagan summed up the success of the 1974 season in an August column, which was published in newspapers across Vermont.

Community Gardens are Popular - Gardens for All - 1974