Honey Road Plants the People's Garden
By: Sophia Skelly
“Community service is a combat sport in Burlington,” an Intervale Center volunteer told me recently. Indeed, this city is filled with service-oriented individuals and businesses who are committed to making Burlington a better place to live, eat, and farm. The Intervale Center is a product of this culture and many of our programs would not be possible without the support of local businesses.
Honey Road, the downtown, James Beard Nominated restaurant, is lauded for their mezze plates and beautiful cocktails. In addition to their commitment to serving fantastic Mediterranean fare, Honey Road has shown a dedication to the Intervale Center’s work. Most recently, the team showed up to plant the first round of crops for the People’s Garden. Employees from both the front and the back of the house fanned out across a plot of land adjacent to our offices and planted a wide variety of vegetables and herbs.
The People’s Garden is our most recent initiative to increase access to fresh and healthy food. Sarah Alexander, our Gleaning and Food Access Manager, runs the the Fair Share Program and decided to launch the People’s Garden in order to make the program more educational and experiential. “Our Fair Share members wanted more tomatoes, more basil, more cherished summer crops that are often unavailable to gleaners. We also wanted to incorporate hands-on gardening education to our nutrition and food access curriculum,” Alexander said.
Last year, the Fair Share program fed 175 families and that number has been increasing each year. The produce is sourced from community driven gleaning programs. Digger’s Mirth Collective Farm, Intervale Community Farm and Jericho Settler’s Farm host gleaners weekly throughout the season and countless other farms donate extra produce to the program. This allows Fair Share members to receive local vegetables from July to October.
With guidance from Alexander and volunteer assistant, Diane Abruzzini, Honey Road employees planted green beans, scallions, peppers, tomatoes, and other vegetables that are rarely gleaned. When vegetables are ready to harvest, members will be able to pick produce straight from the People’s Garden and take it home with them! We are thrilled to develop the Fair Share program and create an opportunity for members to be more proximate to the food in their weekly pick-ups. To learn more about what the Intervale Center is doing to increase access to fresh food, check out our website and consider becoming a volunteer during this year's gleaning season!
Funding for Intervale Gleaning & Food Rescue is generously provided by Gardener’s Supply Company, National Life Group, United Way of Northwest Vermont, Maximus Foundation, Community Bank, NorthCountry Federal Credit Union, Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, and Northfield Savings Bank.