Gardening with the Youth Employment Program - 1984

 BACG History Post #48

Bernie Sanders created the Mayor's Youth Office during his first term as mayor of Burlington. The city department teamed up with the state Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) to sponsor the Burlington Youth Employment Program, which started in 1983. The program is described in an article published in the Rutland Herald on August 8, 1983.

During the spring and summer of 1983, a cooperative community garden was established on an experimental basis at the Intervale Community Garden site. A total of 37 youths rotated through 20 slots in the garden program, which was funded through the Comprehensive Employment Training Administration (CETA).

The Cooperative Garden Project continued in 1984. Funded by public and private sources, the Garden Project provided youth with the opportunity to grow vegetables, flowers and herbs on more than an acre of fertile land. 

The youths learned plant identification, transplanting, harvesting, and marketing. Produce was sold to local grocers, restaurants, and through local Farmers Markets. 

Ten percent of the produce grown was donated to the Food Shelf. A quarter of the youths involved in the Garden Project were able to work off community service hours assigned through the court diversion program.

The Burlington Free Press story below, published on July 22, 1984, describes the garden component of the Youth Employment Program.

Youth Employment Garden Project - Intervale