The Janet S. Munt Family Room: Garden, Nature and Family Play

2017 Co-op Patronage Seedling Grants

The Janet S. Munt Family Room: Garden, Nature and Family Play - Initial Grant Award: $6,240.00 (actual check: $7,621.40).

"The Janet S. Munt Family Room nurtures healthy, strong and diverse communities by providing research-based, wrap-around services and programs designed to help families with young children thrive. As a Parent-Child Center of Vermont, we provide education, support and connection for parents, and promote physical, social, emotional and linguistic development in children. A caring, flexible and trusted staff connects with each family and individual to help them celebrate their strengths and address their challenges. 
The Family Room offers programming that is accessible to all, and flexible enough to meet the changing needs of our community. FR is a low barrier, single access point for multiple services. Staff work across programs conferring closely on needs and solutions for the best outcomes for our families. The Family Room is a place of connection that helps parents grow their support networks, and creates a vibrant and diverse community. We integrate new & longer-term Vermonters. We grow cultural awareness, celebrating our differences. The Family Room is a place where differences of class, race, language and religion are celebrated and honored, and cultural awareness grows.
The Family Room's holistic approach to serving families is one that must also be applied to the local food system. To get ALL families to participate in the local food system we need to lower barriers, provide needed supports, and help families connect with local resources and with one another. The added value provided by the Family Room's Garden, Nature and Family Play includes transportation, childcare, garden mentoring, availability of materials and facilitated connections with others make it possible for many who would not otherwise grow their own vegetables to do so.  It builds skills and a network that will enable families to continue to access better nutrition in future seasons, and pass these lessons along to their children. 
Our program model encourages peer-to-peer and family-to-family coaching and mentoring. Cooking skills and values around culinary traditions are passed on from one generation to the next. We have a high level of participation from grandparents in our program. The Garden, Nature and Family Play programing connects our families to the local food system in the following concrete ways: helping new Vermonters keep their cultural identities while encouraging a connection to local food system; helps families build ties other farms for gleaning; instills a desire for people to cook and grow their own food; solidifies and reinforces the extent to which kids can cook what they grow; and teaches parents how to cook young children and enjoy it! "

2018 Update

The Janet S. Munt Family Room is a parent child center providing programs that are accessible to all and flexible enough to meet the needs of our changing community.  We support connection for parents and families, provide education, promote physical, social, emotional, and linguistic development in children, and nurture a vibrant and diverse community.  Our Family Play program has been a vital program for families. 

From May through September, our Family Play program moves from 20 Allen St. to the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington.  This beautiful location gives families opportunities to garden, play outside, gain nutrition and cooking education, go on nature walks, eat healthy meals together and connect with others.  Families can sign up for a free garden plot to grow the food they would like.  We are able to supply seeds, seedlings, compost, fertilizer and tools to grow their gardens.  Children can be found in the Rainbow garden where they get to plant, care for and harvest their own food.  


Our staff and volunteers welcome all who come and are able to provide activities and care for children while parents work in their gardens.  We are also able to provide transportation from the Family Room at 20 Allen Street and to Franklin Square, as well.  A school bus picks up families, brings them to Family Play at the garden and brings them back.  Since there isn’t public transportation to the Homestead, we are grateful to be able to provide this service. 

We work with Vermont Adult Learning and Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program to provide English classes in our outdoor program.  While parents are learning English, their children are running and playing outside and are in close proximity to their parents.  Vermont Community Garden Network has been supporting our programs by doing cooking demos, making pesto, salsa and tortillas from scratch with families and working with parents to help them better grow their gardens.  This year, the Vermont Foodbank provided free produce and samples for everyone.  We are grateful for all of our collaborations. 

The City Market Seedling grant award of $6,721 allowed for us to purchase three new picnic tables,  shovels, gardening tools, kid-sized tools, a portable stove, kitchen utensils for outdoor cooking, and mortars and pestles. We were also able to begin construction on our new shade structure.