Day in the Dirt

Last weekend, 260 volunteers gathered at 16 sites in greater Burlington to participate in Day in the Dirt. Thanks to to the support of these volunteers and a number of generous sponsors, we were able to better prepare these community garden sites for the upcoming season. The event was a great opportunity to work together, have fun, connect with our broader gardening community, and of course, get dirty!

Following the event, I connected with a few Day in the Dirt participants to learn more about their experiences.

Name: Roxanne          Site: Kelly’s Field Senior Housing

Hinesburg volunteers
Volunteers work together to build a raised bed at Kelly’s Field Senior Housing.

H: Tell me about your site.

R: The site was Kelly’s Field Senior Housing in Hinesburg, an Independent living facility which is part of Cathedral Square. It’s set back from main road and has a pavilion surrounded by a yard. We added six raised beds and worked together to fill them with dirt.

 H: What was the most memorable part of your experience?

The people. The same as when I took the Teaching Garden class last year. The conversations you have when you are shoveling. I love connecting with people around a common activity—especially one with a bigger purpose. It was nice to connect with people on a nice sunny Saturday and get this done!

 R: What would you tell others considering volunteering in the future?

I would say that if they have a passion for community, if they desire a more close-knit community, if they want to help others be able to garden, if they want to get they want to get their hands or feet dirty or if they want to earn City Market hours, sign up for day in the dirt! It’s very fun, it’s hard work, but it feels very fulfilling. You get to meet people who are interested in helping out and gardening and at the end of the day you can see the progress you’ve made. Whether it’s a pile of dirt that’s in garden beds or something else.

Name: Ehren               Site: Ethan Allen Homestead Community Garden

Ethan Allen Volunteers
A team of volunteers work on integrating crop cover into the soil at the Teaching Garden at the Ethan Allen Homestead.

H: Tell me about your site.

E: The Ethan Allen Community Teaching Garden is designed to educate about 20 or so new gardeners in the greater Burlington community so we have a mix of individual small garden plots and communal plots of annuals and perenials.

 H: What was the most memorable part of your experience?

E: I was really impressed that a woman brought out her 90 year old mother who was ready to do everything and anything. Multiple generations of gardeners came out to support the cause. Three or four generations were out here. I was really taken aback by how hard everyone was willing and able to work in those three hours for something that they weren’t necessarily going to be part of in future.

 H: What would you tell others considering volunteering in the future?

E: Whether you are new or a veteran to the Burlingotn garden community, it’s a really great way to connect to your neighbors and your natural environment in a way that benefits your community.

Name: Kane                 Site: Tommy Thompson Community Garden

Tommy Thompson Volunteers
A group photo of the volunteers at the Tommy Thompson Community Garden.

Tell me about your site?

It was very close to the Intervale so it was very convenient to Burlington. It was right out in the sun so I got some awesome sunburns. I liked working there a lot because it was very quiet and peaceful—a nice little stand apart location.

What was the most memorable part of your experience?

It was when I was working on a raised bed—the handicapped accessible one—Bill and I were working on it and we brought compost over from the compost pile and it reminded me of being back in a middle school playground and being on the balance beams. And I didn’t fall off!

What would you tell others considering volunteering in the future?

I would say be ready for a lot of hard work—you’re definitely putting your back in to it. It’s very awe inspriging to see how much the garden can be transformed with only a few hours of work spread across many hands. I thought the event was very well organized and they did a great job of always staying on top of always having new tasks available to us. There were a lot of tasks available so everyone could be involved regardless of their physical abilities.

Thanks again to all those who volunteered and to Roxanne, Ehren, and Kane for sharing their experiences!

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