Common Roots Build – A – Thon at the Farm at South Village: Children’s Growing Gardens Program Expands

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Thursday August 18, 2016

Common Roots vegetable gardens on the South Village organic farm now has 10 new raised beds in which to grow crops of lettuce, spinach and other yummy fall vegetables, thanks to the Never Stop Improving spirit of Lowe’s store manager, Bob Fournier, and eight employees.

This generous donation brings the total number of beds to over 40 on the half acre off East Allen Road at the Spear Street traffic light. Forest Donaj-Keys, a twelve year farmer and employee of Common Roots, manages the Growing Gardens, Growing Kids program with the help of volunteers and interns from the University of Vermont. As many as ninety children from the Recreation and Parks Department and the School’s Out Program come to the Spear Street site each week for hands-on agricultural experience in growing organic vegetables.

The ten new raised beds, each four by ten feet, were filled with screened top soil and farmer Forest will add quality compost and plant them up. They were constructed so that children from pre-school through fifth grade can reach in and help tend to the vegetables as they grow. Forest commented, “The Lowe’s volunteers really didn’t want to leave when their work was finished!”

The main purpose of these educational gardens is to grow vegetables for the 30 families that Common Roots serves each week. These quality, organic vegetables will be also be sold at the South Burlington Farmers Market each Sunday from 10-2 in front of the University Mall and in the Farm Stand Tent at South Village Farm on Mondays from 4:30 to 7:30. The farm stand is accessed via Allen Road East at the light on Spear Street. The assortment of organic veggies grow each week and support the six programs of Common Roots in our community!

Eight Lowe’s employees volunteered for this enterprise, one of several that the store promotes with a variety of other community efforts. Common Roots thanks the tenacious crew at South Village, which included Alex Tower, Nicholas Palmier, Stanley Louis, Marlene Boucher, Patricia Lagerstedt, Justin Martin, Ian Flynn and Jeffrey Sparks

Common Roots’ partnership with South Village started eight years ago, and is one of more than a dozen partnerships who provide community resources. This engaging partnership with Lowe’s was the first project. Lowe’s not only provided the labor, but also donated the lumber, cut to size. The ten beds were constructed in less than an hour!

Community members and families are encouraged to come to the Farm at South Village any Monday night to tour, volunteer with farm chores, or simply buy delicious organic fresh produce.

Common Roots provides six programs in our community, including partnerships with our schools to improve the nutritional quality of cafeteria meals, sharing food with those in need, and promoting experiences in growing food and preparing meals among children and teen-agers.

by Carl Moore . Common Roots connects farmers, educators, youth, and community members to build a sustainable future through place-based educational and service programs. By collectively growing food for our schools, kitchens, and food shelves, they celebrate the soil and soul of community. Their stewardship provides food security, affirms our local environment, and nurtures our common roots.