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Food For Thought: The Growing Peace Project

Campaign Introduction:

Raising $5000 for our food insecurity and youth activism programs, so we can buy equipment, hire a garden manager, add more workshops, and partner with local organic farms!


Funds Raised


Funding Goal

Dec 2019


This campaign was successful! 😃
Or purchase a reward below if available!
Raised Percent :
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Funds Raised


Funding Goal

Dec 2019


Raised Percent :
This campaign was successful! 😃
Or purchase a reward below if available!
Campaign Location:
Share Campaign:

Campaign Story

If you’re looking to make change, this is the place to get started. The staff is so supportive and so enthusiastic about what YOU have to offer. If you have an opportunity to get involved in this project, jump on it. I would do it again in a second…. There are many different kinds of leaders. I think I have learned how simple it is for me to make a difference. -Nate


People ask me all the time, “So what exactly does The Growing Peace Project do?” My answer: We feed our neighbors and we help kids solve the world’s problems.

It’s that simple.

The more detailed answer is: We are a peacemaking, social justice, and youth activism educational nonprofit. We partner kids from diverse communities throughout the US to design and implement action plans addressing community issues they care about, culminating in a Vermont summer youth activism retreat. We also grow a garden, feed our hungry neighbors, and offer classes and workshops. All of our programs are entirely free.


We have two broad programs – one national, one local.

Our LOCAL PROGRAMS revolve around food insecurity among our neighbors. We grow a half-acre garden and orchard dedicated to feeding our hungry neighbors and the organizations that serve them. We welcome people into the garden to harvest, we teach cultivation workshops, hold family cooking classes, and each year we partner with service organizations by donating hundreds of pounds of produce to area food shelves, health clinics, senior centers, homeless shelters, and the like.

In our NATIONAL PROGRAM we work with middle school students. Kids from two different schools get together for a school year. They:

  • get acquainted
  • choose issues in their communities they care about
  • brainstorm solutions
  • create and implement action plans
  • attend a Vermont summer activism retreat
  • go home, share what they’ve learned, and take action!

Throughout this process we see – and hear from the kids – that a lot of other great things are happening too.They’re discovering the commonality of social issues worldwide while also considering the ways those issues are felt, understood, and addressed across gender, race, class, or socioeconomic status. They’re learning how to work alongside someone whose life is very different from their own. They’re reflecting on their personal strengths and talents, and discovering new ones they didn’t know they had. They’re raising their voices to make a difference in the world, and becoming committed activists in ways that reflect their own leadership styles.

Because kids choose the issues every year looks different, but common themes have included topics such as racial injustice, environmental concerns, immigration rights, hunger and homelessness, gender inequality, gun violence, bullying, and more.


Food For Thought is a bridge between our local and national programs. It serves as an activism model for our participating youth, demonstrating what day-to-day activism can look like for a community in need. Front and center in our hearts and minds is this burning question:

Can there be peace in the world if people are hungry?

Forming alliances and partnerships is central to our work. School and community groups donate their time in the garden and promote our cause. A local health center partners with us to get food into the hands of the most needy. Retreat kids research food insecurity and consider the impact of food deserts on their community’s health. They work in the garden, harvest food, donate produce, and volunteer at places like the Vermont Foodbank and Upper Valley Haven homeless shelter. In 2019 our retreat youth also organized and held their first Unity Potluck Lunch, a gathering they designed with the goal of bringing a wide range of people together to build community through discussion and a shared meal.



It takes a lot of labor, time, and money to grow a half-acre of food. To pull this off we rely on the volunteer efforts of our community, and the generosity of individual donors and foundations. But to make all of this effort more sustainable we’ve identified the following ways in which we can strengthen our infrastructure and build on our success.

We want to:

• purchase a rototiller and trailer

• hire a part-time garden manager

• add another family cooking series and more cultivation/preserving workshops

• partner with local organic farms to offer more of a Farm to (Retreat) Table experience!


Satisfaction. Karma points. Cool rewards. As a thank you for your donation generous supporters are offering posters, photo notecards, granola, veggie seeds, massages, TGPP T-shirts, an Airbnb stay in Burlington, Vermont – and more!

We have some great items, just waiting for you. :)


Our campaign is just 30 days long! Please make some noise TODAY about our campaign, share our link, and please tag and follow us:





THANK YOU for joining us in feeding our neighbors and supporting kids in becoming peacemakers and problem solvers!

Jacqueline Labate, Founding Director


I now see myself as a person who can change anyone’s life. -Adelaida

Campaign Contributions

Name Location Date
Anonymous , VT December 23, 2019
Lois Jackson Corinth, VT December 21, 2019
EEF , VT December 21, 2019
Gordon and Gail , ME December 21, 2019
Kathleen Shepherd Norwich, VT December 20, 2019
Anonymous Sharon, VT December 20, 2019
Victoria Cooper Essex, VT December 20, 2019
Jill , VT December 20, 2019
Jennifer Lund NORTON, MA December 19, 2019
Mary and Ray , VT December 18, 2019
Blackmount Equipment , NH December 18, 2019
Suzanne McGilvray CAMBRIDGE, MA December 18, 2019
Anonymous Norwich , VT December 17, 2019
Deborah Wernecke Bradford, VT December 17, 2019
Bill , vt December 16, 2019
Lora , TN December 15, 2019
Catharine and David Newbury East Thetford, VT December 15, 2019
Dwayna Covey Corinth, VT December 15, 2019
Thomas Kidder West Newbury, VT December 15, 2019
Stuart Blood Thetford Center, VT December 14, 2019
Jenny , VT December 14, 2019
Penelope Prendergast NORWICH, VT December 14, 2019
Ted , VT December 14, 2019
Lawrence Coffin Bradford, VT December 13, 2019
Mary Reynolds ENFIELD, NH December 13, 2019
Anne McKinsey East Corinth, VT December 12, 2019
Bridget , VT December 11, 2019
Chris , VT December 11, 2019
Rick & Emmy Hausman South Ryegate, VT December 06, 2019
Matthew Madan Topsham, VT December 05, 2019
Amanda Plagge Etna, NH December 03, 2019
Jen Murphy White River Junction, VT November 25, 2019
Yvette Tomlinson , VT November 23, 2019
Anonymous Thetford Center, VT November 22, 2019
Briane Pinkson Cornish, NH November 22, 2019
Carl Schneider essex junction, VT November 22, 2019
Donna Burnham , NJ November 19, 2019
Rachael Grossman E MONTPELIER, VT November 18, 2019
Virginia Adams Seekonk, MA November 17, 2019
Mark , NH November 17, 2019
Jeanne Rintell Chestnut Hill, MA November 16, 2019
Kathy Davidow Bradford, VT November 14, 2019
Jason Arnold Laramie, WY November 14, 2019
Susan Goodell Newbury, VT November 11, 2019
Susan Goodell Newbury, VT November 11, 2019
Nancy LaRowe Norwich, VT November 11, 2019
Richard Brown Randolph Center, VT November 10, 2019
Angelina Labate San Francisco, CA November 10, 2019
Michael Labate Sausalito, CA November 08, 2019
Michael Labate Sausalito, CA November 08, 2019
Stacey Slichta Studio City, CA November 08, 2019
Matt Labate Studio City, CA November 08, 2019
Lisa Carloss Studio City, CA November 08, 2019
Anonymous Topsham, VT November 08, 2019

Campaign Updates

  • 08-11-2019

    We’re Off!

    We’re off! Our campaign is now live. Grateful thanks to all the folks who helped get us to this point.

    Thank you, Lisa, for our first donation and a very generous $250! You are now one of our Campaign Heroes and your name is displayed over the rewards on our campaign page. We so appreciate your support!


    Garden volunteers from Oxbow High School. Such a great crew!

  • 08-11-2019

    Donors Rock!

    Thank you, Matthew, Stacey, and Michael for your donations! Within a few hours of going live we received $620 from 4 donors. Yay!

    We’re currently in soft launch; our hard launch will be in about 7-10 days. The soft launch is to let folks know about us and to give our campaign some early traction. Thank you to everyone who is sharing and promoting our campaign – we’re very grateful!

    “Stop Hunger Now!” Retreat activists discussing their action plan to address food insecurity.

  • 10-11-2019


    Thank you, Angelina, for your donation! I’m so grateful for all the ways you contribute to the cause. 🙂

    Feeling very grateful today for all the people who have supported us in big and little ways the past several years. Peace, justice, food security…truly a community effort.

    Like these volunteers from Oxbow High School in Bradford, VT, ADL Intermediate School in Essex Junction, VT, and individuals from our town. They spent a day with us in May to prep the garden and orchard for the growing season, build raised beds, and make pizza for hungry workers! Such a wonderful team effort!

  • 11-11-2019

    Family Cooking Series

    Many thanks to Rich & Cindy, Nancy, and Susan & Jeffrey for the donations! And thank you so much for these encouraging words:

    Keep up the good work. We love what you do and are happy to support you….Thank you for your gifts to our community.

    Thank you for making a difference, however large or small, in this world….I always feel good contributing to Growing Peace, because I know it helps you to help a growing number of kids see a better world, while making a better one locally.


    One of our goals with this campaign is to add more family cooking classes. These classes focus on healthy affordable meals based on garden abundance. We discuss recipes, divide up the cooking, and then eat together, family style. Each family leaves with recipes and all the ingredients to replicate the meal at home.

    I love watching kids in the kitchen, chopping, cooking, tasting, trying new foods, and experimenting with familiar ones. When kids are part of the process they’re invested in the results!

    Salsa fresca, with ingredients straight from the garden

    Say cheese! Veggie burrito bar

    Healthy carrot muffins

    Chopping greens and herbs for a chickpea quinoa salad

    Enjoying the fruits of our labor, family style.

  • 13-11-2019

    World Kindness Day

    It’s World Kindness Day, and all day I’ve been appreciating the kind, caring, thoughtful, sincere, committed kids that we’re proud to work with!

    Our campaign is still in soft launch. Donors, you can help get the word out by sharing our link with a few people in your networks and encouraging them to join you in supporting our food justice, peacemaking, and youth activism programs.

    Thank you!

  • 14-11-2019

    Food Justice

    Thank you, Jason and Kathy, for your donations. We’ve now received the first $1,000+ of our campaign. Let’s keep it going!

    Today is November 14th. It’s also:

    National Pickle Day

    International Girls Day

    Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day

    World Diabetes Day

    National Spicy Guacamole Day

    National Family PJ Day

    Operating Room Nurse Day

    World Quality Day

    But every day is Hunger Day for a person who doesn’t have enough food to eat. Nikki Henderson of People’s Grocery said: “Food justice is the belief that healthy food is a human right, so everyone has an inherent right to access healthy, fresh food….Food justice is important for everyone because food is culture. Food is your family. Food is part of how we communicate with one another; it’s a way we share our love. Being able to enjoy and prepare food that actually nourishes the body and keeps us healthy is connected to our ability to stay sane as human beings.”

    Your support helps us continue providing healthy organic garden produce to our hungry neighbors. Thank you for joining us!

    From “empty stomach” exercise we did with a VT middle school

  • 16-11-2019

    We Did It!

    David and Jeanne, thank you so much for the donation and continued support!

    We also just received word that a $1,000 donation is on its way. So amazing.

    We’re now well past our goal to raise 30% of our campaign target before our full launch. Thank you to all who have given so generously this past week. We did it!


    Activism retreat kids delivering produce from our free food teaching garden and preparing meals for guests, Upper Valley Haven homeless shelter

  • 21-11-2019

    Taking Time For Fun!

    Ginny & Richard, Paul & Rachael, Donna & John – thank you all so much for your donations! You helped move us past the midpoint of our campaign goal. Yes!

    Growing food to feed the hungry, addressing climate change, being an LGBTQ ally, or standing up for racial justice, immigration rights, gender equality…it’s serious and important work. So it’s important for our peace growers to take time for FUN while saving the planet!


  • 23-11-2019

    Food is Love

    Thank you, Carl, Briane, and all the Anonymous on and offline donors! You’ve helped get us to nearly 60% of our goal. Please share our campaign with your network so we can maintain the momentum!

    We often say, “Food is love.” This was evident this past summer when our activism retreat kids held our very first youth-led community event, which they called Unity Potluck Lunch – a shared community meal and discussions. As they describe it, “The purpose of this lunch was to bring diverse community members together to make connections. We did community-building icebreakers and held tabletop discussions. For the art piece we asked attendees to share their handprint with one word to describe themselves. This represents how the community came together and it shows how we are all unique in our own ways.” The art installation will travel around to area libraries, schools, etc.

    Breaking bread together, community discussions, getting to know our neighbors…these are all ways food can unite us. It nourishes the body – and the soul.

  • 3-12-2019


    It’s here, that annual day of giving when people the world over open their hearts and wallets to support so many worthy causes. Here at The Growing Peace Project we’re so very grateful for your generosity of spirit. Thank you!

    For recent donations – thank you Yvette, Jen, and Amanda! You make us smile.

    Our fundraising has hit a normal mid-campaign slowdown, but we’re 60% of the way to our goal! You can help reignite momentum by sharing our link with your world.

    Thank you!

    my morning refrigerator magnet meditation

  • 12-12-2019

    We’re Getting There!

    Just $1500 to go in our campaign! Thank you for moving us closer to the finish line, Emmy and Rick, Matthew and Anna, and two Anonymous-es (or is that Anony-mi?)!

    This past weekend we hosted The Giving Fair, a showcase of area nonprofits, where 27 local organizations shared their good works with the community. We’re so proud to be counted among these worthy nonprofits operating in our small corner of the world!

    Our table at the Fair, with an awesome group of youth activists from our collaboration with AD Lawton School in Essex Junction, VT. This year ADL is partnering with Lawton Alternative School in San Francisco, CA. Both schools are currently exploring community issues they care about through the lens of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, in preparation for developing cross-school action plans. They are rocking youth activism!

  • 15-12-2019

    So Close!

    Just 5 days left of our campaign and we’re so close – just $859 to go! So many people to thank since our last update. THANK YOU to Chris, Bridget, Anne, Mary, Larry, Ted, Penelope, Jenny, Stuart, Tom, and Dwayna. Your support means everything.

    As you may have noticed we just rolled out two new rewards – one from S.C.A.R.S. and another from Zooble Toys. Please share! Every dollar we raise helps us bolster our free food programs for our food insecure neighbors.

    Here are some garden scenes for your viewing pleasure. Food, volunteers, kids…what could be better?

  • 19-12-2019

    THANK YOU!!!

    We reached our goal!! Wow, thank you so much!!

    Thank you Catharine & David, Lora, Bill, Debbie, Suzanne, Blackmount Equipment, and Mary & Ray for moving us across the finish line! We are so grateful to you and ALL our supporters.

    But wait, we’re not done yet. Our campaign remains live until Sunday at midnight. One way we can earn back a percentage of our platform fee is to reach 50 backers. We’re at 45 – just 5 more to go. You can help by sharing our campaign link with your family and friends. Thank you!

    All funds raised in excess of our goal will support our youth programs and annual summer activism retreat. All our programs are entirely free, and the retreat is our biggest expense – transportation, van and lodging rentals, meals, supplies, and materials.

    Partnering this year and attending our 2020 retreat are ADL in Essex Junction, VT and Lawton Alternative in San Francisco, CA. They’ve been getting to know each other and exploring the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. After the holiday break they’ll begin identifying issues in their communities they care about in light of those Goals, culminating in action plans they’ll create and implement. Very exciting!

    Once again, thank you all so much!


    Students at both schools with pen pal letters they’re exchanging as a way to get to know about each other’s lives and to begin their community discussions.

  • 22-12-2019

    Bonus Day!

    Thank you, Jennifer, Jill, Victoria, Anonymous, Kathleen, Gordon & Gail, EEF, and Lois for your donations which also moved us across the 50-backer mark. We’re now 114% funded! Extremely grateful!

    So we can add additional offline donations coming in tomorrow we’ve added a Bonus Day to our campaign! We’ll now close the campaign on Monday night at midnight. One more day to give and spread the word. Thank you all!

    Be the Change.

  • 26-12-2019

    It’s a Wrap!

    Dear Friends,

    Our campaign closed this week, and I want to take this moment to let you know how deeply I appreciate your support. We set out to raise $5,000. By campaign’s end 54 donors from 33 towns in 8 states donated $5,725, so our campaign was 115% funded. Thank you so much! I am deeply grateful.

    Every day I hold close the reminder that your support means so much more than the dollars you give. You believe, as I do, that we must lift each other up, call out injustice, and advance peace in our communities. You believe that amplifying the voices of kids helps them to know their worth and the value of their contributions. You understand that feeding a hungry person nourishes their body and their soul.

    The Dalai Lama said, “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.” We’re just one tiny organization in a tiny corner of the world. But we all can do something. Thank you for your partnership and love.

    My very best wishes for the new year.


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Give Thanks!

Lovely one-of-a-kind nature art photo notecard designed and photographed by our youth activists. Randomly chosen from 6 beautiful card options.

0 backers


Be The Change!

11x14 poster displaying Gandhi's "be the change" quote - our TGPP motto.

0 backers


Triple Your Impact!

One lucky donor gets 10% off the cost of a beautiful T-shirt by S.C.A.R.S - Strength, Courage, And Resilience of the Soul - which donates 10% of their profits to an individual in need of medical funding. Your donation supports 3 worthy causes!

ADDED BONUS: All donations at this level or higher will be entered to win a $100 gift card from King Arthur Flour!!

0 backers


Sweeten Your Day!

A box of King Arthur Flour Essential Goodness Double Chocolate Cookie Mix. Chocolatey amazingness.

0 backers


Share The Love!

A one-pound bag of the world's best organic granola. Seriously, it's delicious.

ADDED BONUS: All donations at this level or higher will be entered to win a $100 gift card from King Arthur Flour!!

0 backers


Lighten Your Load!

Two hours of TGPP kid volunteers who will stack wood, rake leaves, shovel snow, or organize a classroom. Whatever you need - within reason of course. ;) Limited to Essex Junction, VT area.

ADDED BONUS: All donations at this level or higher will be entered to win a $100 gift card from King Arthur Flour!!

0 backers


Imagine and Play!

20% discount on purchases of Zooble Toys. These handmade Vermont creations are just so lovable and fun! Discount code will be sent after you select this reward.

0 backers


Grow Peace!

A 5-pack set of organic Vermont vegetable seeds for the 2020 growing season.

ADDED BONUS: All donations at this level or higher will be entered to win a $100 gift card from King Arthur Flour!!

0 backers


Celebrate Nature!

A boxed 6-card set of TGPP photo notecards designed and photographed by our youth activists.

ADDED BONUS: All donations at this level or higher will be entered to win a $100 gift card from King Arthur Flour!!

0 backers


Wear It With Pride!

A unique TGPP T-shirt. What all the cool kids are wearing. Assorted colors.

ADDED BONUS: All donations at this level or higher will be entered to win a $100 gift card from King Arthur Flour!!

0 backers


Relax and Recharge!

An hour-long massage with a certified massage therapist - ahhhh! Located in Bradford, VT.

ADDED BONUS: All donations at this level or higher will be entered to win a $100 gift card from King Arthur Flour!!

0 backers


Build Community!

A community dinner in your honor with TGPP staff, supporters, and friends at our Topsham, VT headquarters. We provide the entree - everyone else brings the sides. Meet new folks, eat, laugh, share, and enjoy!

ADDED BONUS: All donations at this level or higher will be entered to win a $100 gift card from King Arthur Flour!!

0 backers


Paint The Town!
An invitation to our community dinner (see above reward) AND a 4-day stay in your own private suite, complete with sitting room, bedroom, and bath. Located in the hip city of Burlington, VT. Awesome hosts who know all the best places to go.

ADDED BONUS: All donations at this level or higher will be entered to win a $100 gift card from King Arthur Flour!!

0 backers