The Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Community Garden Network, in partnership with Charlie Nardozzi and Gardener's Supply, have awarded eight food garden grants to small businesses and organizations around the state.
The Green Thumbs at Work garden grant winners are:
- Carris Reels-Plastics Division in Center Rutland
- Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region in Rutland
- Hickok & Boardman Financial Planning in Burlington
- Milton CAT in Richmond
- NEKCA Head Start in Barton
- Sunrise Family Resource Center in Bennington
- Transportation Security Administration in North Clarendon
- Washington Electric Coop in East Montpelier.
Each site will receive $500 for materials, a $250 gift certificate to Gardener’s Supply, and $1,000 in technical assistance. The grant winners were selected from a pool of 29 applicants based on readiness to develop a workplace garden, including the existence of a wellness coordinator or wellness committee, the ability to provide matching funds and in-kind services for garden development, employee participation, and clear articulation of how the garden will help meet employee wellness goals.
The Green Thumbs at Work program provides a means of physical activity and stress reduction, increases access to fresh produce, and promotes opportunities for other wellness activities. Workplace gardens can also increase employee engagement, camaraderie, and healthy behavior.
The technical assistance provided through the grant program helps each business determine the type and size of garden that best meets its needs, and develop strategies to ensure the garden will be successful throughout the 2015 season and for years to come.
In the words of a few 2014 Green Thumbs grantees:
“Having a garden at our worksite has increased employees’ sense of community.” – Karina Dailey, Trudell Consulting Engineers, Williston
“The garden has changed the work day by providing a break and getting outside more.” – Bob Kottkamp, Black River Good Neighbor Services, Ludlow
The biggest success of the summer was “having fresh veggies that the employees could use at lunch during the day or take some home.” – Joe Peters, TJ Mold and Tool, St. Johnsbury
The grant program is a partnership of the Vermont Department of Health, Vermont Community Garden Network, Charlie Nardozzi, and Gardener’s Supply.
For more information, go to http://vcgn.org/green-thumbs-at-work or call (802) 861-4769.