Are you interested in sharing your garden skills, getting to know Cape Ann's other gardeners, and giving back to your community this year? Become a Garden Mentor!


What is a garden mentor?

The mentor program began in 2011 with our flagship program, the Backyard Garden Program.  With a team of just one -- founder and current Executive Director Lara Lepionka -- Backyard Growers (BYG) needed help training all the new gardeners starting the program.  Over the years, we have developed the mentor program into a more holistic volunteer opportunity that touches all three of our main programs, the Backyard Garden, the Community Garden and the School Garden Programs, and allows mentors to be involved in the entire program process, from distributing the seeds and seedlings to helping harvest.

As a garden mentor with Backyard Growers I was given an intimate window to witness people learning the miracle of what the earth can yield. From the anticipation during the planning process, the pride of a healthy plant to the wonder of the kids as they ate their first real tomato.
— Nome Graham, Garden Mentor


BYG garden mentors allow 10 backyard garden and 40 community garden families to become life-long gardeners, inspired by the power of growing their own food.

Who is a garden mentor?

A garden mentor is a gardener, a trainer, a volunteer, and an invaluable part of the BYG team. To be a mentor, you must be over 20 and have experience gardening or farming in Massachusetts. Mentors should be a part of the Cape Ann community and committed to helping ensure access to fresh vegetables for community members in Cape Ann.

THe commitment

Mentor Program Image.jpg

The garden mentor program is a 10 month, February-November, volunteer commitment. Mentors will be involved in garden trainings, building garden beds, growing and distributing seedlings, leading community workshops to build skills, and maintaining community and school gardens. While some parts are flexible, we ask mentors to commit to the following:

  • Mandatory Mentor Training - Thursday, Feb 15, 6:30-8:30 pm - 2 hours
  • Mandatory Garden Training for Program Participants - Saturday March 24, 8 am - 12 pm - 4 hours
  • Garden Bed Build and Fill Day - April 5, 6, OR 7 - 4 hours 
  • Spring Seedling Distribution - Saturday, April 22 - 4 hours 
  • Summer Seedling Distribution - TBD - 2 hours
  • Participant Engagement - Monthly May-October - 5 hours total
  • 3 Community Workshops* - Tues/Thurs in March- October - 9 hours total
  • Community Garden Maintenance* - May-October (flexible) - 10 hours total
*If you are a parent or guardian of a child in Gloucester Public Schools, you can choose to help at gardens and events at the schools


Become a Mentor

To apply to become a Garden Mentor, fill out our Garden Mentor Application online  or download it and either drop it off at Backyard Growers' office or email it to


DON'T FEEL QUALIFIED TO BE A Mentor, But want to be involved?

No worries! There are many ways to get involved with Backyard Growers. Contact our volunteer manager for details!