by Eileen Bisgard, President of the Brigit’s Bounty Community Resources Board of Directors
Brigit’s Bounty Community Resources is 10 years old! The Giving Garden was started in 2009 and became a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency in 2011. It has been dedicated from the start to teaching children about gardening and the environment. Raising approximately a ton of food each year to give away to those who need it is a gratifying additional benefit.
The Brigit’s Bounty Giving Garden was started by BrandiLynn Grieg, a mother whose boys were at that time students at Frederick Elementary School (now Thunder Valley K–8). The school had no funds for field trips, so BrandiLynn wrote grants to make them possible. She found a grant opportunity from Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing for starting a learning garden, wrote it, and was awarded $5,000 to get the garden going. St. Brigit Episcopal Church agreed to devote part of its property to the garden. Brigit’s Bounty is within walking distance from Thunder Valley K–8 School, so it’s an easy location for no-cost field trips. BrandiLynn also went into the classrooms to teach the children about gardening and help them plant starter-seeds for the garden. This tradition is still being carried on, as are the field trips.
The last 10 years have seen huge growth in the garden such as obtaining a tractor, bringing irrigation water onto the property, planting an orchard and pumpkin patch, installing a “children’s garden” with a shade structure, and creating raised beds. The latest additions have been three beehives and five chickens. This summer will see the addition of a commercial-quality greenhouse attached to the side of St. Brigit Church.
A summer camp program was started in 2012 so that the children could participate in the garden while the vegetables were growing – during the time when school was out. Every effort is made to keep the cost to the families low and scholarships are always available. The camp is only possible because of the generosity of grantors and donors and the participation of AmeriCorps VISTAs. The garden program had to become virtual last summer, but it is back on a limited COVID-sensitive basis for this year.
Brigit’s Bounty took the huge step of hiring Rachel Pound as a year-round Garden Coordinator in 2020. Her work, along with that of a series of AmeriCorps VISTAs, has helped the garden to create adult workshops as well as an after-school program that started in 2020 but has been put on hold because of the pandemic. They have also created products from the herbs that grow in the children’s garden which are sold to help support the garden along with sales of honey, T-shirts, and other products. Hundreds of volunteers provide invaluable help in the garden while having the opportunity to enjoy the peace and tranquility that exists there. Brigit’s Bounty is a United Way agency, a Better Business Bureau accredited charity, and recently joined the Carbon Valley Chamber of Commerce. We are filled with joy as we reflect on what has been accomplished over the past 10 years and especially the young lives that have been improved through their time in the Giving Garden. Brigit’s Bounty has been an enduring source of fun, outdoor education for youth, food for families in need, and a serene sanctuary for those looking to spend a few hours with their hands in the dirt. We enthusiastically look forward to the next decade and are honored to continue transforming lives and strengthening the Carbon Valley community! You can learn lots more about the garden, donate, volunteer, purchase products to help support the programs, or register for camp at www.brigitsbounty.org.