350 Vermont: Rewild Vermont

2021 Update:

350Vermont organizes, educates, and supports people in Vermont to work together for climate justice - resisting fossil fuels, building momentum for alternatives, and transforming our communities toward justice and resilience.  

350VT grew out of a global day of climate action in 2010, and we’ve been supporting more and more Vermonters in organizing for climate justice ever since. Resisting fossil fuels has been central to our work since the beginning; in 2017, we launched a Solutions program. Our Solutions work is focused on supporting local organizers to realize solutions to climate change, and over the past year, many of our local groups around the state have been doing different projects related to regenerative agriculture, a campaign we call Put Carbon in the Ground. Rewild Vermont, part of our Put Carbon in the Ground campaign, is a project to transform how people in Vermont relate to the land, toward regenerative, just practices. It allows people to simultaneously take action for climate justice, food justice, and economic justice.  

Group of volunteers planting trees at North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier

(Planting at North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier)

Since the launch of our Rewild project in July of 2020, 350VT has worked with volunteers and other organizations to plant over 7,500 trees. We helped coordinate 48 tree planting events and 6 education events focused on food justice and regenerative agriculture, and engaged over 700 people in these tree plantings and workshops.  

We used the $5,500 from the City Market Seedling Grant for many of these events and workshops, one event in particular was directly supported by the Seedling Grant. This was our Grafting workshop where 30 volunteers helped graft 250 apple and pear trees. Most of these trees were donated to schools and community gardens. Additionally, volunteers planted over 2,000 nut trees. When these trees grow big they will draw CO2 out of the atmosphere and provide food for people and wildlife.  


(Volunteers planting nut trees near Brattleboro, VT)

The grafting workshop was such a successful workshop, we plan on hosting several more workshops throughout spring of 2022. The trees from these workshops will be planted in lower income areas around the state. This winter we will begin to identify more locations for mini orchards, and engage community members in conversations about their food needs and how food justice and climate justice are connected.  

The biggest challenge to this project is finding locations to plant the community food forests. We are continuing to reach out to town officials, schools, churches, other organizations, and businesses to find locations to plant the fruit and nut trees. Our hope is to secure at least 5 locations for spring 2022 plantings.  

Another aspect of our Rewild Project was planting riparian buffers. We collaborated with several conservation districts throughout the state to plant thousands of trees along river banks and on the edges of fields. These plantings will help to mitigate the impacts of climate change by drawing down CO2, controlling erosion, and limiting flooding. Additionally, these plantings help prevent runoff from farm fields from entering tributaries helping improve the water quality of Vermont’s rivers and lakes.

These tree plantings give people a tangible way to take action to help reverse the impacts of climate change, while simultaneously addressing food insecurity issues. One volunteer said that planting trees helped her feel like she was “walking her talk”.  

Group standing together outside behind a banner that reads, "One people, one planet"

(350 VT Grafting Workshop, April 2021)

2020 Grant Amount: $5,500.00

Rewild Vermont, part of our Put Carbon in the Ground campaign, is a project to transform how people in Vermont relate to the land, toward regenerative, just practices. It will allow people to simultaneously take action for climate justice, food justice, and economic justice.

We are organizing to plant fruit, nut, and native trees in the Burlington area and across the state. The tree planting will be paired with a workshop series on connections between climate justice, regenerative agriculture and land care practices, food justice, economic justice, migrant justice, and other issues. We will explore possible advocacy to support statewide movement toward regenerative agriculture and sustainable livelihoods for everyone involved in growing food. This project begins in 2020, with planting on an unknown scope that will depend on local fundraising in the coming months. If we receive the Seedling Grant, it will support expanding the project in 2021 and providing a very strong start to acquiring trees for 2021.

Our goal is to have a significant proportion of the trees we plant be fruit and nut trees, choosing a diverse array of native species for the remaining trees. While site selection for native trees will prioritize reforestation, as well as collaboration with schools and other groups, site selection for fruit and nut trees will prioritize addressing food insecurity. We will work in local communities to choose sites where fruit and nut trees will be accessible to people who want to harvest the food, and we will collaborate with other local organizations, like gleaning groups, to make sure that the food gets harvested and provided to people who need it, for example through food shelves.

The fruit and nut trees will help to address the food insecurity that is increasingly widespread in Vermont. Providing more fresh, healthy foods to people experiencing food insecurity also helps to address food injustice. The trees will sequester carbon, helping to address climate change, and they will provide other essential ecosystem services. Additionally, our workshop series will educate people on these and other topics. While tree planting is something that many groups are able to do, the way that this project combines tree planting with feeding people, with education about the timely and intersectional issues of climate justice, food justice, migrant justice, land access, and economic justice, and potentially with advocacy to address all of those issues in Vermont, is uniquely powerful.