The Giving Garden, a collaboration and creation of the Poultney community, is located in the back lot of Poultney High School. What was once an empty field is now a beautiful garden. Dawn Sarli, Poultney School District challenge teacher, helped oversee the garden's growth.
"This past year I worked with Green Mountain College, the Poultney Food Shelf, the Poultney Rotary Club, community members Sarah Mittlefehldt and John Gillette, and Kaitlin Cioffi's environmental science class," said Sarli. "We collaborated on a service-learning project to create a sustainable source for fresh, locally produced veggies to service the Poultney Food Shelf."
Sarli also noted that Mittlefeldht's GMC environmental justice class conducted research and worked with Anne DeBonis, Joan Donaghy, and Kathy Hutson of the food shelf to establish what nutritional foods would best service those in need.
Once the college students made their recommendations, Cioffi's environmental science students at Poultney High School worked with them on a sustainable garden design.
According to Sharli, Dr. Fred Michel and her tilled the garden space. "Rest assured he wields his Rototiller with the same ease that he does a dentist drill. Cioffi's class finished digging the dirt," she said.
Throughout the summer the Poultney Rotary Club, along with Mittlefehldt and Gillette, will maintain the garden and harvest the vegetables on open-shelf days.
"Many people in the community are to thank for the creation of this great service project. I am truly grateful for their dedication," Sharli said.
"As this project continues to evolve, we would like teachers to feel welcome to utilize this space for educational and service learning-based projects. Clubs and other groups are welcome to be involved," she noted.
"We would love to see the garden expand and be used for whatever purposes the community sees fit. It's great to see the efforts of many partners come to fruition in such a beautiful way."