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Community Garden Beds to Be Filled May 4th

The day after Vermont’s Green Up Day volunteers fan out to spruce up surrounding streets and  stream sides in local neighborhoods, this year ten 16” deep raised beds being built at the front of the Vermont Farmers Food Center will also be getting their fill of healthy soil in readiness for brightening up the front of the Vermont Farmers Food Center property.

At 10:00 a.m. Sunday, May 4th at 251 West Street, home to Rutland’s winter farmers market, the work of completing the first ten beds will begin. Thirty cubic yards of sandy loam, healthy local topsoil and organic compost have been delivered, and geo-textile ground cloth along with a tractor with loader making the work go faster will be on-site.  Wood chips spread over ground cloth will also be placed forming walkways between the beds.

Community-minded volunteers are invited to bring shovels, rakes, gloves, hats and sunscreen with along with water bottles, a bag lunch, and plenty of friends and family for another great day establishing this new community resource.  Rutland Untied Neighborhoods will be there with workers and some extra tools so that everyone can contribute.  Many hands make light work.

Greg Cox of Boardman Hill Farm (a certified organic farm) who is president of VFFC, reports that 10” of sandy loam providing a base beneath 8” of topsoil capped with 2” of compost will ensure good growth and be sufficiently deep for any annual crop grown in Vermont, especially root crops, to be both healthy and organic.

The Build Day event April 12th saw wide representation from many Friends of Pine Hill Park, market vendors, church and youth groups, ARC of Rutland, and supporters of VFFC.  One highlight of that day’s work was seeing 10 year old Nick Pope, there with a group from the Dream Center, handling power tools for the first time, driving the deck screws into the lumber forming the frame corners.  Along with a little added boost from a few of the Friends of Pine Hill Park and his own enthusiasm for the work, Nick was unstoppable.

Interest in adopting the garden beds has been enthusiastic.  Groups thus far include Head Start, several after-school and summer youth programs, ARC of Rutland County, and year-round daycare organizations have each responded very positively.  VFFC is already anticipating building the remaining ten beds originally planned with the hoped-for announcement of $1,000 granted through the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund.

Priority for the remainder is being given to groups serving youth and to families in need of additional food security who are interested in learning to garden.  All seeds and bedding plants are being donated along with guidance and encouragement from qualified gardeners and local farmers to ensure this first year is a resounding success.  Hoop house coverings will extend Vermont’s growing season.

Anyone wishing to adopt a raised bed to plant and tend as either a ‘take as you can  use’ source of fresh healthy produce for the community or to be gleaned by RAFFL as part of their critical work in addressing nutrition and hunger locally should call Karen Ranz at 802 / 345 – 0910.

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