Helen Dechtiar

Helen outside the garden with the compost

Helen outside the garden with the compost

Helen is the organizer of a community garden in the heart of Burlington, VT where she serves as a liaison between students and their neighbors. The program is the result of the efforts of the University of Vermont Community Coalition and the Neighborhood Alliance Program. Routinely surrounded by temporary student neighbors, Helen had been interested in improving the image of the community to one that reflects a consciousness for the health of the environment. There was a sense of belonging that was missing from the community, so with permission from the land owner, the Buell Street Neighborhood Garden began selling their plots three years ago. Currently all 12 plots are sold to a combination of student and non-student community members. Each plot sells for $10 which covers most of the cost of operations.

Helen can say that over the three years that the garden has been there it has stimulated awareness that her community is one that cares, and nothing but positive relationships have come from working in the garden with neighbors. She has also learned a tremendous amount. Gardening was not something Helen had much experience with in the beginning, but since then she has realized how fun and easy it is and ‘obsessed’ is the word she chose to use to describe her involvement with her plants.

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