Four Community Garden Case Studies
The case studies below were compiled by Mary Roberts Brundige and Sarah E. Curtiss during
October and November, 2005, as a service-learning project commissioned by the University of
Vermont School of Natural Resources and Friends of Burlington Gardens.
The town of Shelburne has a community garden located at the LaPlatte Nature Center
that is maintained by the Shelburne Parks and Recreation Department. Like all
community gardens surveyed, membership is limited to town residents and must be
renewed annually. The 21 lots at this site cost $15 for 15’ x 20’ plots or $30 for 20’ x 30’
plots. These membership fees cover rototilling, mowing, advertising, administrative fees
and water usage. There is a water hook-up on-site, but no hose is provided.
Additionally, participants must bring their own tools to the site, as there are no tools or
tool shed provided by the town. Gardeners may apply their own fertilizer and while
organic gardening is not enforced, it is encouraged.
Age of participants varies from people in their late 20’s to those in their 70’s, with no
particular gender or ethnicity predominating. Sue Craig, Shelburne Parks and Recreation
Administrative Assistant, states that relationships between participants are strong as only
town residents are allowed to participate and therefore often already know one another.
However, there have been problems with theft in which food has been stolen or smashed.
These kinds of incidents are always reported to the Shelburne Police. There have also
been problems with participants keeping unkempt plots, despite having to sign a
gardening registration form in which they agree to keep them “as weed –free as
practical.” Those who do not tend to their plots risk losing them the following year.
The Shelburne community garden is well-organized, with a documented management
plan that may be passed on to future garden organizers and advertisements for plots
appearing in Parks and Recreation b