CONNecting to Our Roots for Community, Food, & New Directions



1. Cultivating community, sustainability, policy and social justice (CC)

2. Gardening and running a community garden basics (B)

3. Youth and school gardening (YSG)

4. Innovative programs and new directions (I)


Thursday, July 27, 2017 – Intensives 1 – 5 PM

  • Starting a Community Garden  How to Start a Community Garden:

    A 6 hour training for community garden leaders in Pittsburgh. Come to this workshop to experience a condensed version. This intensive Pittsburgh course is helpful for those starting a community garden as well as for program managers hoping to teach others how to focus on the PEOPLE when starting gardens. (B)

          Rayden Sorock, Community Garden Program Manager, Grow Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA

  • Policy  Zoning for Community Gardens:

    Despite being a dense urban environment, Hartford is on a path to becoming one of the most sustainable cities in the U.S., thanks to sweeping changes to the zoning code enacted in January 2016. Learn how the code promotes urban agriculture and sustainability. This zoning code change also serves as a model for other Connecticut municipalities to follow: Bridgeport is drafting similar language; the New London County Food Policy Council also is exploring this policy. Explore this example of the potential for local food policy councils to promote and stimulate system change, both within and across geographies. (CC)

    Sara Bronin, Chair, City of Hartford Planning & Zoning Commission, Hartford CT

    Meg Hourigan, Policy Analyst, Hartford Food System and CT Food System Alliance, Hartford CT

    Martha Page, Chair, Hartford Advisory Commission on Food Policy, Hartford CT

  • School Gardens   

    (1) Curricula: interactive activities to learn best practices in early childhood education and key strategies for educators who teach in the school garden setting. Led by FoodCorps Connecticut. Learn about SEEDS, a hands-on garden curriculum that links to Common Core principles. (2) Management and Sustainability: KidsGardening’s “Kids Gardening Guide” showcases best practices  to use and manage a school garden for success and sustainability and to learn community-based strategies for sustaining school gardens during the peak growing season. (YSG)

    Christine Gall, Education Specialist/Garden Education Coordinator, KidsGardening/Burlington School Food Project, Burlington VT

    Catherine Hallisey, FoodCorps Connecticut Fellow, Vernon CT

    Jen Rovetti, FoodCorps Service CT Member, Norwich Public Schools, Norwich CT

    Molly Deegan, FoodCorps CT Service Member, East Hartford Public Schools, East Hartford CT

    Ailish Dennigan, FoodCorps CT Service Member, Norwalk Grows, Norwalk CT

    Roxanne Zimmer, Master Farmer, Edible School Gardens of the East End, Peconic NY

    Maria Plitt, Science teacher, Eastport NY

    Su Lok, Director, Corporate and Community Partnerships, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Marysville OH

    Dr. Kimberlee Kiehl, Project Director, Museum of Ohio, Columbus OH

  • Social Justice  Growing Alliances in Brooklyn:

    Maureen O’Brien, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, shows how recognizing privilege, embracing diversity, and active listening help grow stronger communities and delicious tomatoes.  A discussion with ACGA Board members, concerning race in community gardens, follows. (CC)

          Maureen O’Brien, Community Field Manager, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Brooklyn NY

    Charlie Monroe, President ACGA, Lithonia GA

    Bill LoSasso, Secretary ACGA, New York City NY

    Joyce Moore, Director, ACGA, Indianapolis IN

  • Wellness: Medicinal Gardening: How Community Gardens are Re-inventing Preventative Healthcare in the United States.

     Growing, cooking, and eating healthy food together is a powerful tool for improving community health, and can take many forms.  During this session, presenters representing three different organizations in the United States will showcase the forms that their innovative work in preventative health has taken, including:

    (1) a hospital reconnects being well with eating well in its  Learning Garden Program. (2) The Institute for Integrative Health’s Mission Thrive program uses community gardens to develop innovative programs that provide strategies for cultivating integrative community collaborations. (3) Augusta, Ga., the “Fifth Fattest City in America,” developed programs, run cooperatively by some most “unlikely healthcare partners,” in which food-growing offered solutions to health challenges. After highlighting each organization and its program models, triumphs, and lingering questions, the session will culminate with a facilitated discussion.  This dialogue will allow for presenters and audience members alike to share promising practices, troubleshoot challenges, and foster inspiration. (I)

    Lisa Hoare, Garden Coordinator, University of Vermont Medical Center, Burlington VT

    Brandin Bowden The Institute for Integrative Health, Baltimore MD

    Kim Hines, Executive Director, Augusta Locally Grown, Augusta GA


Friday, July 28, 2017  10:00 – 10:50 AM

  • Principles and Implications of Biological Systems 

    An overview of conditions plants need to flourish, and how to create them. Practices and strategies to maintain air, water, minerals, and food in the soil, as well as implications of these practices. Part 1 of Double Session (B) (I) 

          Dan Kittredge, Executive Director, Bionutrient Food Association, North Brookfield MA

  • Gardens at Work: How to Reap Benefits of Workplace Gardens   

    Workplace gardens offer corporations and organizations a way to foster health, well-being, and community building. Learn about the successes and challenges of three programs: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, in partnership with the Trustees; C&S Wholesale Grocers of New Hampshire; Vermont’s Green Thumbs at Work grant program. Examine the elements of successful workplace gardens,  explore brainstorming, and demonstrate how to start or improve a program. Leave with the tools to take the next steps! Part 1 of Double Session (I)

         Michelle de Lima, Engagement Site Manager, Boston Community Gardens, Trustees, Boston MA

    Brendon Pires, Manager of Community Investments & Sustainability, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Boston MA

    Libby Weiland, Statewide Network Coordinator, Vermont Community Garden Network, Burlington VT

    Jess Gerrior, Doctoral Fellow & C&S Workplace Organic Gardens Project Director, Antioch University New England, Keene NH

  • Accessible Garden Bed Options   

    With know-how, tools, and ability, building accessible raised garden plots can be a fun and cost effective way to improve your community garden. Learn which materials, tools, and techniques you can use to succeed with lumber-framed, and strawbale. Part 1 of Double Session (B)

    Bonny Hajducko, Agricultural/Horticultural Educator, Broward County Farm Bureau, Margate FL

    Jeremy Dick, Stewardship Manager, Boston Community Gardens, Trustees, Boston MA

  • How Online Platforms Transform the Way We Garden

    The sharing economy has many proponents. Online platforms allow a more diverse audience to connect to land, food, and income and give the audience a chance to interact with them. (I) (CC)

          David Wagstaff, co-founder Alfrea, Northfield NJ

  • Burlington, Vermont: 45 Years of Community Gardening   

    Learn about the 45-year championship history of Burlington’s community garden program with details about key policies and structures that have shaped it.  Discover how Burlington policies were developed and implemented; consider policies from other municipally-run programs.  Photos and video help tell the story.  The overall objective of the session is to understand Burlington’s garden policy history and reflect on your own community’s garden legacy. Extensive discussion about best practices for municipally-run community garden efforts. (CC)

         Dan Cahill, Land Steward, Burlington Parks Recreation and Waterfront, Burlington VT

  • The Perennial Project: Inspiring Interdisciplinary Collaboration for Sustainable Food Production in School, University, or Community:

    Group-based, hands-on learning promotes regenerative food production techniques and interdisciplinary cooperation.  Learn how this University of Connecticut Project’s goals, methods, and students’ food plot designs offer information about how to connect stakeholders and fund a similar project elsewhere. (YSG)

          Ghadi Tayeh, treasurer, Engineer’s Without Borders Hartford Professional Chapter, Agawam MA

  • Mentor the Garden Mentor: 12-Month Gardening Curriculum for Low Income/Ethnic/Marginalized People   

    Reframe the dialog among social service agencies, faith-based, not-for-profit, and gardening organizations. Ask them to help provide real and imagined spaces for low income/ethnic/marginalized people to learn gardening. (CC)

    Monica Clark, owner, Ezra’s Closet, New Orleans LA

  • RO Create a Seed Library, Support a Community   

    Explore the reasons to start a seed library and the steps an individual, group, or community can take to support sustainable local food resources. (CC) (I)

    Pam Kennedy, Master Gardener, Orleans County Seed Library, Orleans VT


Friday, July 28, 2017  11:00 – 11:50 AM

  • Principles and Implications of Biological Systems (Part 2 of double session) (B)

     Gardens at Work (Part 2 of double session) (I)

     Accessible Garden Bed Options (Part 2 of double session) (B)

  • Partnerships for Impact in Community Gardening   

    Share the research of 30 Community-Based Organizations, from culturally diverse communities, focused on better understanding of the role of partnerships and relationships between under-served communities and more resourced institutions. Results include tangible applications for community organizers and outreach educators; we uncover barriers and opportunities for achieving real impact. (CC)

          Karen Purcell, Project Director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca NY

          Bobby Wilson, CEO, Metro Atlanta Urban Farm, College Park GA

    Marilú Lopez Fretts, Outreach Specialist, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca NY

  • Bring the “Past Forward:” Empowerment through Gardening   

    Urban communities face many challenges because of systemic disinvestment and neglect. Focus here on successful programs that feature local land heritage, then use that history to engage and empower local urban citizens to become advocates for positive change and economic development through gardening. (CC)

                Joyce Moore, Co-Founder/Program Manager, Urban Patch, Indianapolis IN (Director ACGA)

  • ROOM 301 – Growing a Life: Teen Gardeners Harvest Food, Health, and Joy   

    Explore changes in 92 teen gardeners’ feelings, focus, environmental attitudes, and eating habits after growing food for their schools, communities, farmer markets, homeless shelters, and local restaurants. (YSG)

          Illène Pevec, Program Director, Fat City Farmers, Carbondale CO

  • Scaling Up: Managing a Large Community Garden   

    Join others who garden with 50 or more gardeners to talk, solve problems, and share effective approaches to garden management. Topics include planning, registration, shared community tasks, rules and regulations, conflict resolution, community events, and other management issues. (B)

                Patricia James, Community Garden Manager, Grow Food Northampton, Northampton MA

  • Wild for Pollinators: Creating a Garden-based Advocacy Program   

    Discover how a Vermont program leveraged key partnerships to create a successful cross-sector, garden-based community advocacy program about pollinators. Learn the principles and best practices for launching your own garden-based community initiative. (I, CC)

    Maree Gaetani, Director of Partnership and Outreach,, Burlington VT

Friday, July 28, 2017  2:00 – 2:50 PM

  • Gather ‘round: Storytelling to Build Community Support   

    Springfield (MO) Community Gardens uses storytelling to support its organization.  Follow exercises designed to draw out engaging, compelling, inspiring stories from participants. See how stories further engage community partners and grow garden networks. (B)

         Maile Auterson, President & Co-founder, Springfield Community Gardens, Springfield MO

    Alexa Poindexter, Market Garden Manager, Springfield Community Gardens, Springfield MO

  • Build It and They Will Come   

    How one community garden, with more than 50 plots, found success in 2009 with one $1190 grant. (B)

    Enid Mastrianni, Instigator & Ringleader, Greening Glens Falls, Glens Falls NY

    Linda Strangio, model gardener, Greening Glens Falls, Glens Falls, NY

  • Community Gardening as Urban Planning Practice    Urban planning often requires direct involvement and research in a neighborhood or community. By participating in a community garden planners facilitate a unique research method that engages neighborhoods and communities. (I)

          Joachim Bean, Urban planner/community garden leader/graduate student. The Ohio State University, Columbus OH

  • Compost Quality Fundamentals: Dive into Compost Quality

    “How Pile Parameters Impact Quality ~ Home versus Commercial Composting.” “What’s in My Compost? ~ Compost Types and Associated Ingredients.”  “Testing and Transparency ~ Testing and Labeling of Compost.” (B)

           Adam Jankauskas, Founder, City Compost, Gardner MA

  • YOU Can Grow Rice in Your School and Community Garden    Rice is the foundation of many cultures’ cuisines and traditions. Learn to introduce this versatile, beautiful crop into a small garden. Understand seed selection, planting, transplanting, harvesting, and processing, as well as how to incorporate rice into an educational curriculum. (YSG)

    Nick Storrs, Urban Farm Manager, Randall’s Island Park Alliance, New York City NY

  • Check Out the Library Gardens!   

    Two small towns built and successfully incorporated gardens into their “outside of the box” programs. Participants actively discuss necessary steps to include and excite community members, brainstorm multi-generational activities, and “invent” a vegetable snack for the group. (I)

    Virginia Holiman, Garden Coordinator, Highgate Public Library, Haston Library, Highgate VT

    Liza Cominsky, Library Director, Highgate Public Library, Highgate VT

  • Cultural Competencies in the Garden: Tips for Working with New Americans    How do you recruit gardeners who don’t speak English? How do you manage a farm where multiple languages are spoken? What does a community garden really mean? This interactive workshop offers questions and real scenarios as tools to navigate  challenges for newly-rooted gardeners. (CC)

          Alisha Laramee, Program Manager, New Farms for New Americans, Burlington VT

  • Sprout Out, Growing School and Community Garden Associations   

     Join the University of Florida/IFAS Extension and Bok Tower Gardens Partnership and Vermont Community Garden Network in a session addressing the establishment and implementation of garden networks, an innovative approach to overcome common obstacles in garden sustainability. A participatory discussion of lessons learned and successes and challenges of developing and managing new and established garden networks. (I)

          Jess Hyman, Executive Director, Vermont Community Garden Network, Burlington VT

    Susan Webb, Extension Agent, UF/IFAS Extension and Bok Tower Gardens Partnership, Lake Wales FL


Friday, July 28, 2017 3:00 – 3:50 PM  Regional Networking Meetings


Friday, July 28, 2017  4:00 – 4:50 PM

  • Succession of community gardening in changing city landscapes roundtable

    Neighborhoods within our cities are constantly changing. In recent times, gentrification plays a large role in our cities’ landscapes across the country; often times, community gardens can be the catalyst for these changes and are later in jeopardy for development. We will share ideas and stories about how to preserve your community gardens and prepare for new neighbors within an aging gardener population, exploring the political landscape, and building consensus and bridges for successful succession and preservation of community gardens. Bring your thoughts, stories, and questions to explore with this group. (CC)

    Sally McCabe, Associate Director of Community Education for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

    Nancy Kohn, Director of Garden Programs for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

  • Best Practices for Food Cultivation in Brownfield-affected Communities   

    Do you garden on a vacant lot? Do you know what’s in your soil? Most urban soils contain lead, but do you know that certain land uses contribute to more serious contamination issues? Learn more and access the support you need to be a soil-safe community gardener. (I)

         Kate O’Brien, Director of Capacity Building, GroundWorks USA, Yonkers NY

    Antoine Carter, Program Director, GroundWorks USA, GroundWorks Milwaukee, Portland ME

    Cynthia Adams-Burrell, GroundWorks USA

  • What Not To Do: Lessons from a New Community Garden   

    Community gardens take a lot of organization to run smoothly. As we enter our third season, we reflect on some of our missteps and what we would have done differently. We encourage open discussion and feedback about your own experiences; our goal: to help one another to plan and organize our gardens. (B)

         Kerstin Martin, Director of the Community Wellness Initiative & Carr Hall Garden Manager, Allegheny College, Meadville PA

    Emma Sonder, student, Allegheny College, Meadville PA

  • School and Community Garden: Access for All   

     How to include people with various abilities and needs into community and school gardens, by using accessible and/or sensory gardens, more various gardens, and accessible gardening resources. (I) (YSG)

    Nicole Fisher, teacher, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Imapired, Austin TX

  • Gardens Rising: Community Gardens and Climate Change   

    Community gardens provide elements that can handle heavy rains and prevent flooding; can protect against storm damage; and can capture and store rainwater. Green infrastructure techniques, like permeable paving, rain gardens, and bio-swales can slow flooding, prevent erosion, and minimize plant damage — and prevent flooding. (I)

          Aziz Dehkan, Executive Director, New York City Community Garden Coalition, New York City NY

    Charles Krezell, president, Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens, New York City NY

  • Loose Parts: How and Why to Create a Community-managed Nature Play Garden The story of this unique 75×150-foot nature play garden offers valuable lessons for those interested in building and sustaining a community-run space where children and families in an urban context can create connections with nature. Hear this garden’s origin story and learn how the community is planning its long-term stewardship. (I) (YSG)

          Ben Helphand, Executive Director, NeighborSpace, Chicago IL

  • Building Strong Community Gardens with Gateway Greening   

    A step-by-step approach for community groups to develop a plan for a sustainable community or school garden.  Discuss Gateway Greening’s 30-plus-year history of working with community groups and the advantages of its new multi-phase garden development process. (B)

          Dean Gunderson, Garden Program Manager, Gateway Greening, St. Louis MO

  • Wellness in Place: Holistic Approaches to Building Resilience through Community Gardening   

    Participants will develop “thought gardens” using a facilitated process that digs into three main themes: wellness, connection, and resilience. (B) (I)

    Olivia Chitayat, Community Garden Connections Co-Coordinator, Antioch University New England, Keene NH

    Jess Gerrior, Doctoral Fellow & C&S Workplace Organic Gardens Project Director, Antioch University New England, Keene NH

    Libby McCann PhD., Faculty Advisory, Antioch University New England, Keene NH


Sunday, July 30, 2017  9:00 – 9:50 AM

  • Teaching Community Herbalism in a First Aid Garden   

    Help maintain community health and well being by including medicinal herbs and flowers in your garden design. Grow plants for making family-friendly herbal remedies in a “first aid garden.”  Learn about favorite herbs for children and how to prepare products for a first aid kit. (YSG)

                Carolina Lukac, Garden Education Manager, Vermont Community Garden Network, Burlington VT

  • INSECTS: “Manage them?” or “Kill them all?”

    Killing all of the insects in your garden is senseless, near impossible, and irresponsible.  Some insects are harmful to gardens; others are beneficial. To manage the impact of insects in your garden, you need to be able to identify the insects and to learn solutions to manage them. (B)

                Charlie Monroe, Natural Resource Manager, Cobb County Government, Marietta GA (President ACGA)

  • Growing Hope: a Documentary about Grandview/¿uuqinak’uuh Elementary School Community Garden and Art Creation Process   

    This film documents the process that created a community and school garden at a Vancouver, B.C., inner city elementary school whose population is one-half First Nation and one-half immigrant. The participatory planning and creation process created community through planting and public art. (YSG)

          Illène Pevec, Program Director, Fat City Farmers, Carbondale CO

  • Agro-biodiversity and Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Empower  Community Gardens   

    Community gardens provide vital spaces for diverse communities to cultivate food and agro-biodiversity. Participants learn the potential of mobile devices to identify, nurture, and harvest agro-biodiversity; to identify local innovations in sustainable practices; and to influence community-driven policy reform. (I)

          Neeraja Havaligi, Ph.D., fellow, Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network (GPSEN), Portland OR

  • Climate Change, Community Gardens, and You: A Hands-on Approach to Learning in the Garden to Affect Change   

    Learn how educational climate change activities in the garden illustrate the effects of carbon dioxide on the environment.  Explore the impact of changes in pH on the oceans and the effect of water in meditating temperature fluctuations. (I)

          Whitney Elmore, Ph.D., County Extension Director, Urban Horticulture Agent, Master Gardener Coordinator, University of Florida Pasco Extension, Dade City FL

  • Urban & Backyard Poultry Flock – Risk Exposure Prevention  

    The Urban & Backyard Poultry Flock – Risk Exposure Prevention Workshop covers how community members can prevent their poultry flocks from exposure to heavy metals that can affect egg and bird development and health. Best management practices on heavy metals-safe coop/soil quality management are reviewed to understand implementation-steps needed for improvement.

  • Programs, Handbooks, and Procedures! Oh, My!

    If creating a community or school gardens program seems daunting, just imagine the feeling of creating a handbook detailing that entire process. Considering the many elements involved in a program’s success, where do you start? We’ve got you covered, with information on everything from spreading fertilizer to spreading the word! Also, a review of a Community Garden Management Toolkit compiled from over 20 handbooks currently available on the Web.

    Stacy Spriggs, Gardens Program Coordinator, UF/IFAS Extension – Sarasota County FL

    Betsy Johnson, former Executive Director, American Community Gardening Association


Sunday, July 30, 2017  10:00 AM – 11:40 AM

“Popcorn Session”  Participates will rotate to different learning/discussion tables every 20 minutes.  Topics will include, but not limited to:

  • Handbooks, Guides, and Web Resources
  • Problem Solving
  • Soil Health
  • School Gardens and Farm to School
  • Community Gardens in Parks
  • Food Policy Councils
  • Youth Engagement/Leadership
  • ACGA Committees


SUNDAY, JULY 30,  11:40 AM – NOON