Tommy Thompson Garden
Additional Information About Tommy Thompson Gardens
TOMMY THOMPSON COMMUNITY GARDEN began c1975.
The garden is named for Tommy Thompson, who started the Community Garden initiative in the Burlington area in the early 70’s.
Tommy Thompson began working with school children and adults in order to address the energy crisis, develop greater food self sufficiency and raise environmental awareness. He often said, “Why buy summer lettuce that has to be shipped from California 3000 miles away?”
By the late 70’s and early 80’s, the community garden system had more than 20 acres in production on 800 plots in 20 different locations in the Burlington area. People in schools & prisons, seniors, the disabled, low income people and others were involved. On a per capita basis, Burlington, at that time, was considered by many to be “The Community Garden Capital of the Country”. The cost was only $10 per plot or whatever you could pay. There was a Zucchini Festival and people were seen on buses hauling water to their gardens and bringing home vegetables.
Today, the community gardens are administered by Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront along with a strong volunteer board and volunteer site leaders. The program is overseen by the City’s Land Steward. There are fourteen sites, serving over 1,400 individuals and families. And it’s still true that no one is turned away because of lack of funds.