Gardens for All hires Tommy Thompson - January, 1973

 BACG History Post #7

Tommy Thompson - Gardens for All - Spring 1973

The success of the 1972 community garden pilot projects prompted Lyman Wood to convert the Gardens for All program into a nonprofit organization. 

Wood hired Tommy Thompson, a retired restaurant owner from Ascutney, Vermont, to spearhead the community gardens initiative.

Thompson began work in January, 1973. He moved to Burlington and lived in a house on Maple Street. His first-year goal was to help 1,000 families in the greater Burlington area to plant and tend 700 vegetable gardens.

Gardeners would pay no fee to use the garden plots located on public and private land.
Potential community garden sites were identified by networking with civic leaders, churches, schools, businesses, and land owners.

Thompson attended neighborhood meetings and community gatherings to recruit site coordinators and gardeners. The goal was to help the community gardens to become self-managing and self-sufficient.

“We have found that there are many people who would like to garden but don’t own land,” Thompson said. “At the same time, many acres of land, sometimes less than a block away from their homes, may lie idle or only lightly used for other purposes. Why not, then, create a program that would put people and garden plots together no matter where they live.”