Vermonter asking people to plant sunflowers for Ukraine

The sunflower is Ukraine’s national flower and a man in Marshfield is asking Vermonters to plant them to show support.
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 5:18 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2022 at 8:12 AM EDT
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MARSHFIELD, Vt. (WCAX) - The sunflower is Ukraine’s national flower, and a man in Marshfield is asking Vermonters to plant them to show support.

As the thunder boomed outside of Dale Newton’s home, he thought about bombs for the first time.

“I felt I think like a lot of us,” said Newton. “That I felt like I needed to do something.”

People have been flying flags and holding signs to let Ukrainians know they’re not alone as Russian soldiers attack their homes.

Newton is asking people to plant sunflowers.

“There was sort of an interesting mixture of personal skills that allowed me to build up Vermont Plant Sunflowers for Ukraine,” said Newton.

He created a website to be home base, then spent two days reaching out to every town and city in the state, contacting almost 400 schools, organizations, churches and businesses.

“It’s a slow process contacting every school in Vermont, but I’m working on it,” said Newton.

He’s also been attending rallies and reaching out to state leaders.

Newton has committed, and now he wants others to stand with him to hit a simple goal.

“I suspect come this late summer, early fall, we will see tens of thousands of sunflowers in Vermont where we haven’t seen them before,” said Newton.

He’s getting commitments from as many Vermonters as possible to plant sunflowers, his or their own, to give deep reflective thought and to take a stand.

“It’s a simple statement of solidarity, and hopefully doing that, it will keep this on people’s minds. It might change some people’s focus and attitudes, it might give us all instead of the sense of security just the blessing and thankfulness for what we have,” said Newton.

His first 10 pounds of seeds are due soon. He hopes to work with local schools to pack them and send some to those looking to join in who can’t get them.

He wants to see them at VTrans rest stops, the Statehouse and in backyards.

Newton is running on his own investment but can take donations through his website.

“I realize planting sunflowers in our brave little state probably is not going to change the course of this assault on humanity,” said Newton.

But he does say he hopes the splashes of yellow peppering the Green Mountain State will serve a greater purpose down the road.

“It’s the idea of celebration and joy and hope, and letting people know we stand strong in Vermont,” said Newton.

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