Showing posts with label 1983-1986. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1983-1986. Show all posts

No funds in the bank accounts - December, 1986

 BACG History Post #57

Burlington Area Community Gardens held its annual meeting on December 3, 1986. Board members present were Charlie Nardozzi, Barbara Prine, Barry Deliduka, Lisa Halvorsen, Nancy Crane, Neil Stout and Ike Isley. 

BACG's financial situation was dire. No funds remained in the checking account or savings account. Outstanding bills totaled $467.32 plus an estimated $500 water bill. Fundraising was discussed as an option, with no resolution. Negotiations were in progress with the City of Burlington to take responsibility for the community garden program. 

BACG Annual Meeting Minutes - 1986

Work and fun in the community gardens -1986

 BACG History Post #56

From May to November, a group of 22 Burlington teens, participated in the Youth Employment Garden Project. Maureen Cannon supervised the teens as they tilled, planted, hoed, and harvested vegetables from an acre of land at the north end of the Intervale Community Garden. 

The Burlington Youth Employment Program was founded by Mayor Bernie Sanders in 1982. The story below was published in the Burlington Free Press on August 15, 1986.    

Bernie Sanders and Youth Employment Garden

Youth Employment Garden article - 1986

Zucchini Festival - 1986

BACG and the Burlington Farmers Market co-sponsored the Second Annual Zucchini Festival on August 23, 1986. The event for all ages was held at City Hall Park.


From Gardens for All to the National Gardening Association -1986

 BACG History Post #55

At 180 Flynn Avenue in Burlington's South End, the nonprofit started in 1972 by Lyman Wood was evolving. Membership in the National Gardening Association, formerly Gardens for All, grew to 250,000 subscribers. NGA published a monthly glossy magazine and released a 432-page guide for growing fruits and vegetables. The story below appeared in the Burlington Free Press on March 23, 1986.



National Gardening Association's staff had expanded to 28 employees by March, 1986. 

Larry Sommers used his organizing skills and experience to help Cleveland develop a city-wide community gardening program. Vacant lots were transformed from eyesores to a force for neighborhood pride. NGA's goal was to create a community garden master plan to serve as a model for other cities.

Bruce Butterfield continued to work with the Gallup Organization to conduct the annual National Gardening Survey. The 1985-1986 survey indicated that  44% of American households were active in food and/or flower gardening.

Laura Carlsmith coordinated the production of Gardening, The Complete Guide to Growing America's Favorite Fruits and Vegetables. Carlson later worked on the NGA team that received a National Science Foundation grant to use gardening to teach hands-on science in schools.

Kit Anderson and George Thabault served as editors for the guidebook. Anderson later became editor in chief for National Gardening Magazine. Thabault went on from NGA to work in the Mayor's office at City Hall. 



BACG registers member gardeners -1986

BACG History Post #54

BACG Board members 1986The 1986 gardening season began with a newly elected board of directors. BACG's administrative assistant, Megan Humphrey, crafted a beautifully designed membership packet. The packet provided information about each garden site and the names of the site coordinators. A separate registration form for garden plots accompanied the membership packet. A total of 273 plots were listed at eight different BACG sites. 


BACG Registraion form -1988 pg. 2

BACG announcement - Spring 1984Community garden at Winooski Pool -1986

Intervale Community Garden 20-year lease -1985

BACG History Post #53

Burlington Area Community Gardens held its annual meeting on December 11, 1985 at the Fletcher Free Library. Agenda items including the election of board members and the approval of a 20-year lease with the Burlington Electric Department for the Intervale Community Garden site. The involvement of city government with the community gardens was also discussed.

Established in 1983 as an independent nonprofit, BACG was governed by a board of directors who held financial responsibility for the organization. Each BACG gardener attending the annual meeting had a vote in the decision-making process. Board chair Don Miller wrote the letter below to BACG members in late November, 1985, inviting and encouraging member participation.   

Clean up deposits and garden awards - 1985

 BACG History Post #52

Printed and mailed newsletters were the mainstay of communications for 20th century nonprofit organizations. Each newsletter article had a job to do, whether it be to inform, acknowledge volunteers, or call gardeners to action.

With limited pages, words were chosen carefully. Effective use of white space created a sense of structure and organization. Hand drawn artwork set a grassroots tone. The weed 'em and reap theme celebrated the rewards of gardening know-how coupled with timely effort.

Weed 'em and Reap newsletter - October 1985

The October 1985 Weed 'em & reap newsletter was released just in time for the annual cleanup of individual garden plots. The closing date was set for October 12. After cleaning up their plot, gardeners were given the opportunity to carry over their $5 deposit to the next gardening season or receive a refund by mail.

The fall newsletter acknowledged the Zucchini Festival volunteers, along with three community garden sites which won group awards. The Intervale and Catholic Charities sites received honorable mention in the American Community Garden Association's contest. The Orchard site was a prize winner for its community garden table display at the Champlain Valley Fair.

Weed 'em and Reap newsletter October 1985

Zucchini Festival in City Hall Park -1985

 BACG History Post #51

Megan Humphrey brought energy and creativity to her work as BACG's Administrative Assistant. The Zucchini Festival debuted on the Saturday after Labor Day, in City Hall Park. The event was a partnership between BACG and the Burlington Farmers Market.

"There were prizes for Best Dressed Zucchini, Zucchini Toss, and Largest Zucchini," said Humphrey. "Kids came with dressed up zucchinis and adults came wearing silly zucchini earrings. Governor Madeleine Kunin judged the zucchinis and gave out the prizes. I had Ben & Jerry’s make zucchini ice cream for us."

Burlington Zucchini Festival Poster - 1985

Burlington kids at Zucchini Festival - 1985

Graphic design and garden coordination - 1985

 BACG History Post #50

BACG Administrative Assistant ad
The BACG board hired Megan Humphrey early in 1985 to coordinate the community garden program. 

"I LOVED running BACG," reflected Humphrey about her two years of service as BACG's administrative assistant. 

"I was able to organize garden site sign-ups, plan events, do marketing, connect people with resources, use my graphic design skills, and do administrative tasks.

BACG Gardeners Can Pick their Plots
"The BACG office was upstairs next door to what is now Penny Cluse CafĂ©, then Ben & Jerry’s," Humphrey said. 

"I shared attic office space with Ron and Arnie Koss as they began their Earth’s Best baby food business. They had lots of energy and I enjoyed the vibe." 

"We had wonderful board members, site coordinators, and local resources for things like hay bales, plants, etc. The smell of the B & J’s waffle cones wafted up constantly, though—I still can’t stand the smell of those cones after all these years."

Humphrey applied her organizational and graphic design skills to the BACG newsletter, "Weed 'em and Reap." The newsletter helped to draw the eight BACG community garden sites into a more cohesive program. 

Weed 'em and Reap newsletter July 1985

Weed 'em and Reap newsletter July 1985

Gardening interests trend toward leisure - 1984

 BACG History Post #49

Doug Routley was a plant science professor for the University of New Hampshire. During the 1970s and 1980s, he wrote a newspaper column called The Yankee Gardener. The column reprinted below appeared in the Brattleboro Reformer on July 28, 1984. 

Routley wrote about the changing home and community gardening trends between 1974 and 1984. The growth of farmers markets made high quality local produce more readily available. Fewer people were interested in fighting weeds and insects to grow their own vegetables.

"Backyards which once grew potatoes, tomatoes, and corn now grow grass, and in many places, swimming pools occupy what once was gardening space," he wrote. "Stability in the price of gas, more energy efficient vehicles, and high employment have stimulated the buying of recreational vehicles and boats. People have become mobile again."

Routley identified a declining interest in horticulture among young people. Careers in engineering, computers, and biotechnology were on the upswing. Fewer older adults grew vegetables, in part due to the improving economy. Recreational gardening and ornamental plants became more popular. While there were exceptions to these trends, interest in renting community garden plots was waning in some areas.


Gardening remained the number one leisure activity in America, according to the 1984 Gallup Poll. Eight of ten Americans participated in some type of indoor or outdoor gardening (which included growing a lawn). Four in ten or 34 million households were involved in vegetable gardening. 

Interest in food gardening was highest among married couples and people over age 50. The article below was published in the Brattleboro Reformer on October 13, 1984. Gardens for All and the Gallup organization cooperated on the annual National Gardening Survey.


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

Community Garden Book published in Burlington - 1984

 BACG History Post #47 

Larry Sommers followed in the footsteps of Tommy Thompson, the founding director of Gardens for All. Like Thompson, Sommers worked tirelessly to help groups and individuals to start and sustain community food gardens. 

Thompson's death in January 1983 spurred Sommers to create The Community Garden Book, New Directions for Creating and Managing Neighborhood Food Gardens in Your Town. 

The Community Garden Book by Larry SommersSommers collected community gardening management strategies and photos from across America. He tapped the knowledge banks of fellow organizers from the American Community Garden Association, a nonprofit organization founded in Chicago in 1979. Sommers served as an ACGA board member.

Copy for the book was produced by typewriter. Black and white glossy photos were cut and pasted into the layout. 

Lynn Severance, a graphic artist who created many of Ben & Jerry's iconic designs, did the artwork for the cover and graphics for interior pages. George Thabault of Gardens for All edited the book.

Published on January 1, 1984 by Gardens for All, The Community Garden Book was dedicated in memory of Tommy Thompson. Sommers' guide was the go-to resource for countless community garden organizers from 1984 through the dawn of the digital age.

Community gardens and tree planting - 1984

 BACG History Post #46

Burlington Area Community Gardens stood on its own in 1984. The fledgling nonprofit organization was overseen by a volunteer board of directors. 

BACG moved into a shared upstairs office space on Cherry Street at the corner with North Winooski Avenue.  Ben & Jerry's occupied the first floor of the building.  

BACG maintained seven community gardens in Burlington and one community garden in Winooski. A total of 349 plots were available for new and returning gardeners.

BACG Garden Sites (1984) in Burlington Vermont

Ad for BACG Director - December 1983
Craig Fuller was hired as BACG's part-time director. He took over the role from Don Miller, who remained on the BACG board. Fuller was an experienced community organizer from Texas.
 

"My primary qualifications were that I was a gardener, I owned a truck, and I knew how to plow," said Fuller.

Classified ads were placed in the Burlington Free Press to attract new gardeners and solicit donations of materials.

BACG garden plots available - 1984
Ad for Burlington Area Community Gardens - 1984
In addition to his work directing BACG, Fuller (center left in photo below) served as volunteer coordinator for the City of Burlington's tree-planting program.

Intervale Community Garden Flourishes - 1983

 BACG History Post #45

In its fourth year, the Intervale Community Garden offered 65 garden plots, 25 ft x 30 ft. in dimensions. A Burlington Free Press story published on July 12, 1983 described the diversity of gardening styles and motivations.

"It is a place where the individualism of the gardeners seems to thrive as bountifully as their vegetables," wrote Free Press staff writer Leslie Brown. 

July 12, 1983 story on Intervale Community Garden

A tribute to Tommy Thompson - 1983

BACG History Post #44

Although Tommy Thompson's physical heart gave out on March 22, 1983, the heartbeat of his dedication to community gardening lived on. 

Colleagues remembered Tommy Thompson with a special tribute published in the May 1983 issue of the Gardens for All news magazine. Gardens for All tribute to Tommy Thompson

Gardens for All established the Tommy Thompson Community Garden Fund in his memory. The fund's purpose was to create permanent and long term community garden sites through leases, easements, acquisition of property, and permanent improvements such as landscaping and fencing.

BACG becomes an independent nonprofit - 1983

 BACG History Post #43

After ten years coordinating community gardens, Gardens for All passed its local garden torch to a new nonprofit organization.

The formation of Burlington Area Community Gardens was announced in a Burlington Free Press article published on April 4, 1983.

story on BACG forming as a nonprofit

Larry Sommers of Gardens for All emphasized that BACG would utilize the same garden sites and focus on development of permanent sites.

A fund was established in memory of Tommy Thompson, the founder of Gardens for All. Thompson died on March 22, 1983. The fund was dedicated to preserving and expanding permanent community garden sites and to protecting the sites from development.

Don Miller became BACG's new program director. He was based at the Gardens for All headquarters at 180 Flynn Avenue in Burlington. 

Rent a garden plot - $15

The registration fee remained at $15 plus a $5 cleanup deposit. Three hundred community garden plots were available for the 1983 season at ten different BACG sites.

A Spring Festival was planned at Fletcher Free Library to distribute free seeds, share educational information, and sign up gardeners. 

Workshops co-sponsored by the Church Street Center and BACG were held at the Intervale Community Garden site. (see examples below)

The loss of a gardening pioneer - March, 1983

 BACG History Post #42


Tommy Thompson planned to end his career with Gardens for All on March 25, 1983. The previous year, he semi-retired from the nonprofit organization that he directed and worked for starting in January, 1973.

Thompson died during his last week of work, on Tuesday night March 22, 1983, at the age of 65.

Thompson was described by the Burlington Free Press as an international pioneer in the community garden movement, helping to make gardening and food self-sufficiency accessible to people throughout the world.

Thompson's funeral service was held at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in Burlington. He was laid to rest in the family plot at Lake View Cemetery in Burlington.

Tommy Thompson dies - March 22, 1983

Tommy Thompson funeral notice
Thank you from Tommy Thompson's family