350 Vermont: Rewild Vermont

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.