Smart Growth in Action: Avant Garden
Spring has sprung and gardening season is finally here. As the weather warms and people green up their neighborhoods, community gardens are also gearing up for another year of growth, creativity and camaraderie between neighbors.
The Myrtle Street Avant Garden, in Burlington, is no exception. Founded in 2007, the Avant Garden is the result of hard work and commitment by a few dedicated individuals. Before becoming a garden, the open lot adjacent to 15 Myrtle Street had been slated for development. However, with the help of groups such as the Vermont Trust for Public Land and the Burlington Parks and Recreation Department, the lot was preserved as a community open space.
Following this success, a design charrette was held to gather community input on what should be done with the space. Residents, city officials, and others attended this interactive process to discuss what uses would best characterize the community and how these interests could be best adapted to what the land itself had to offer. After several brainstorming and sketching sessions, it was decided to move forward with plans to create a pocket park and garden for residents to cultivate their community and their crops.
As a result, the Avant Garden now offers Burlington’s Old North End 13 gardening plots, open space in a dense part of town, and a place where residents can gather, teach, grow and take pride in their community. In the future, the Avant Garden hopes to continue its mission of maintaining this undeveloped space as a haven for community members to grow local food and for those who simply wish to share the benefits of communal open space.
The garden was made possible by assistance from various grants and organizations, including the Burlington Parks and Recreation Department and the Conservation Legacy Program Fund. For more information, visit, avantgardenvt.com.