The all-volunteer Garden at 485 Elm is a collaboratively grown community garden on the North Branch River. The Garden’s primary products are food, education, and community. The Garden includes a nearly 1/4-acre fenced crop garden, “Compostville,” and .7 acre of riparian buffer plantings, pollinator gardens, and herbs. The Garden at 485 Elm is a member of the Vermont Community Garden Network.
The Garden at 485 Elm’s mission is growing local food, education, and community through collaborative community gardening.
- FOOD: The Garden offers affordable, accessible means for community members to grow and eat fresh, organic, very local food. We also donate fresh food from the Garden to local organizations feeding people in need.
- EDUCATION: First-time gardeners to long-seasoned gardeners learn from each other while growing food together. The Garden also presents interactive workshops that are free and open to the community. Topics include gleaning, medicinal herbs, the life and health of the North Branch river, and yoga in the garden. We aim to become a true teaching garden, developing leadership and expertise from within for growing food, herbs, riparian buffers, and pollinator plantings. We believe anyone who wants to can become a gardener and, in turn, help others to become gardeners.
- COMMUNITY: Gardeners at The Garden at 485 Elm plan, plant, tend, harvest, and maintain the garden together, collaboratively. Group workdays and informal times together in the garden grow relationships as well as food. Community encompasses the human and natural environment. Through responsible and pro-active practices, we strive to leave our corner of the world a better place than we found it and serve as a model to inspire others to do the same.
The Garden at 485 Elm has been thriving since 2014. We offer affordable opportunities for up to 20 gardener households at a time. Because we grow all crops collaboratively, our garden welcomes community members of all gardening skills and abilities to produce fresh, healthy, delicious food, culinary herbs, and medicinal herbs for themselves and their families. We have donated hundreds of pounds food for community members in need through Community Harvest of Central Vermont’s gleaning and distribution program and directly to organizations providing weekly meals to Central Vermonters in need.
The Garden at 485 Elm increases food security, nutritional health, and the community’s skills for growing food, while improving the health of the environment where food grows and reducing the carbon footprint for producing and distributing food, and serving as a teaching model garden in these areas.
In The Garden at 485 Elm, gardeners work collaboratively to grow all the crops, each gardener performing needful tasks according to abilities and interests. Cooperative labor allows for a greater diversity of crops and quantity of yields.
Additional yields are donated to local organizations feeding people in need.
In our first season, Community Harvest of Central Vermont gleaned nearly 200 pounds of food here and delivered it to the Montpelier Food Pantry, the Montpelier Senior Activity Center’s FEAST meals program, and Capstone Community Action‘s (formerly CVCAC) Community Kitchen Academy.
We have picked and delivered fresh vegetables to the Unitarian Church of Montpelier and Christ Episcopal Church’s free community lunches. In 2016, in addition to fresh food donations, the garden donated seeds to organizations including the Barre City Elementary and Middle School’s garden.
We will continue to donate food and seeds through existing and new partnerships that help us help the community where we grow.