Inspiring participation in public affairs
in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson’s life, thought, and ideals.

Community Garden Program

 “No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.” 
—Thomas Jefferson

Inspired by Jefferson's lifelong passion for horticultural pursuits, this outreach program promotes and sustains local school and community garden activities in Ripton, Vermont. Our 8-week summer garden program is designed to nurture the wonder and appreciation that come from building a relationship with the land, while encouraging the Jeffersonian principle of participation in society.

The legacy of Jefferson's vision for America revolves around individual participation in free society. Without participation and involvement at every level, a democratic republic cannot exist. Every community needs spaces and opportunities for its members to gather, produce, work, create, and participate in local life. 

The Community Garden is fertile ground (pun fully intended) for multi-generational learning while raising food and growing a cooperative spirit and sense of kinship within the local community.

Community Garden activities are designed to nurture the wonder and appreciation that come from building a relationship with the land. Participants learn about responsible resource management and sustainable living - models for living demonstrated by Jefferson at his Monticello plantation. The Community Garden becomes not only a useful source of food for the local elementary school and community, but also, like Monticello, a laboratory for experimentation, learning, and creativity.

Neighbors of all ages gather in the Jeffersonian spirit of participation and share the experience of a strengthened community while producing crops for themselves and others. The Community Garden program is a fun, broadly accessible, and simple yet powerful example of "think globally, act locally."

As a public nonprofit institution, The Jefferson Legacy Foundation aims to contribute positively to our local community, even as we engage in far-reaching, global projects. We are sharing the ideals of Thomas Jefferson as a model for effective citizenship, meaningful human relationships, and pursuit and fulfillment of individual potential. 

The Jefferson Legacy Foundation’s pilot project with the Ripton Community Garden includes the following support:

  • Seed Donations—The JLF provides a sampling of seeds from the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants.  A Monticello Children’s Garden Kit is provided for each classroom.
  • Summer Garden Program—The JLF helps to plan and implement a unique 8-10-week summer garden program.  Weekly activities in the garden go beyond planting and weeding to include studying bugs and birds, nutrition and oral tradition, hunger issues, heirloom seeds and more. See our sample “Summer Garden Schedule.”

If you would like more information on the Community Garden Program, contact Wendy Leeds, Communications and Outreach, at The Jefferson Legacy Foundation.

The Jefferson Legacy Foundation
Town Office Building, P.O. Box 76
Ripton, Vermont 05766
Phone 802-388-7676 Fax: 802-388-1776

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Jamie Wyeth.
 Used with permission of the artist. Copyright © Jamie Wyeth