by Meagan Dorsch
by Meagan Dorsch
My colleague, Bert Waisanen, an avid home gardener, recently discovered what we believe to be the first, and perhaps only, state capitol food garden in Montpelier, Vermont.
Bert discovered the Vermont State House Food Garden as he waited to testify on state taxes at the capitol. It appears the garden was the project for a local advocacy group, with a goal of making Montpelier a more sustainable place to live. The group also hopes to inspire residents to create their own vegetable gardens. You can read more about the project and how it got off the ground in this blog. While he was on-site, Bert's thumb turned green with envy as workers harvested dozens of pounds of fresh greens and vegetables.
The Vermont program is volunteer based and about a half dozen workers are dedicated to the harvest. All of the food is immediately given to local food banks. The fourth harvest of the year (which Bert was on-site for) produced over 8 lbs of cabbage, 27 lbs of beets and over 3 lbs of beans. All of the food was given to the Bethany Soup Kitchen. It looks like workers planted more kale, collards, broccoli, lettuce, beets and spinach.
The volunteers told Bert their program is the first state capitol food growing program in the US, which began this year. It appears they are correct. I attempted to Google and find other statehouse gardens, but didn't come up with any. We do know the White House has a community garden and a blog to keep track of each harvest.
Each month, Bert turns our NCSL break room into a mini farmer's market to sell fresh jalapenos, peppers, lettuce and tomatoes (I loved the peppers). Harvest time is right around the corner, so let us know if there is another state capitol that is helping to feed the community, or if you are planting the idea for this spring.