When Jessie and Alex spearheaded the Homeward Bound Collective in 2014, it was with a goal of supporting permaculture efforts and developing an educational garden on the beautiful and healing Rock Point property. At the time, Alex was working as a mentor with Crow’s Path and Jessie was working as a Farm to School educator for the Burlington School District. The first growing season was spent getting to know who was using the property and how they could best revitalize spaces being used for food and plant medicine production. They worked with Dan Cahill from parks and recreation to grow an annual garden on the south side of the community gardens as part of a weed remediation project. If you have seen the garden, you may notice it is shaped in a circular formation, this is because they planned the garden to be oriented with the four cardinal directions!
Since that first season in 2014, they have supported the construction of a hoop house and the revival of Kara’s perennial herb garden. They have worked with Rock Point School’ 6-week long summer session, developing a curriculum called Cultivations, which is a combination of ecology and history, using the land at Rock Point as an outdoor classroom and learning space for the high school students. There is increasingly year-round farm to school connection with Rock Point School and Homeward Bound Collective. This year, the plant starts for the gardens were grown by the science class and a few of the spring gym classes were spent preparing the gardens for the upcoming season. The project has also collaborated with Jackie and the Partner’s Pantry, preserving produce for the Chittenden food shelf. When not working with the Homeward Bound Collective, Jessie has been working to receive her Masters in Food Systems from the University of Vermont and Alex has been working as an apprentice ski guide in the mountains of Idaho.