Innovations and rejeuvenation - 1979

 BACG History Post #28

Tommy Thompson letter to site coordinators

Bruce Butterfield joined the Gardens for All staff in 1978.  He was a 1973 University of Vermont graduate who earned a PhD in Behavioral Psychology. 

Butterfield lived in Ferrisburgh during the 1970s and moved to Burlington in the 1980s. A true back to the land homesteader, he had a passion for gardening and research.

Tommy Thompson tapped Butterfield's gardening know-how and practical skills with equipment to support the community garden program.

In January, Thompson sent a letter to the garden site coordinators to introduce Butterfield and share his hope of developing permanent community garden sites. 

Thompson invite the coordinators to a meeting at the new GFA office in Burlington. This was the first time since 1973 that all of the site coordinators met in one place. 

Butterfield jumped into his new role. During February and March, he taught a six-week course at the Church Street Center in Burlington on "Growing Vegetables." The class met from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Mondays.

Butterfield (1949-2016) was at the beginning of a long career working for Gardens for All and its successor, the National Gardening Association. His specialty was market research. For 35 consecutive years he produced the National Gardening Survey, a comprehensive study of consumer gardening practices, trends, and product sales. 

Bruce Butterfield plows the Intervale
During 1979, Thompson and Butterfield met with officials at the Burlington Electric Department. They obtained permission to prepare a site in the Intervale, on B.E.D. land, for future use as a community garden. 

This photo of Butterfield plowing the Intervale garden site appeared in the November, 30, 1979 issue of the Burlington Free Press.