Thursday, February 21, 2019 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM EST
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The Gardens at Elm Bank 
900 Washington Street
Wellesley, MA 02482

Driving Directions 


Katie Folts 
Massachusetts Horticultural Society 

Mass Hort's School Garden Conference

Our fifth annual school garden conference will feature workshops that explore regional best practices for planning and running a garden that will not only meet educational goals, but also foster life skills. Attending educators will develop practical gardening skills that will increase their confidence and ability to teach in and from a garden. Workshops will support interested parents and volunteers, teachers and administrators—those who have established gardens and those just breaking ground. Pre-registration required.  

Together we hope to cultivate garden spaces that will enrich every community!   


See Conference Schedule Here

Keynote  Address:

No Time, No Money, No Help
Lara Lepionka, Founder of Backyard Growers
Sound familiar? Get inspired to realize your school garden dreams by keeping it real and working within existing systems. Hear tales of Backyard Growers’ collaboration with the Gloucester Public Schools—the challenges and the successes. And take away some highlights from our innovative school garden program model, Salad Days and Fall Harvest Days. Ultimately it’s all about children having the opportunity to grow their own food!

 In the face of the 2008 recession, Lara turned her yard into a micro-urban farm and started growing her own food in the heart of downtown Gloucester. In 2010, she helped a handful of neighbors start their own vegetable gardens, and Backyard Growers was born. Her ultimate goal: creating life-long gardeners inspired by the power of growing one’s own food.

Nine years later, Backyard Growers coordinate a district-wide school garden program serving all eight Gloucester schools. This signature school garden program has been replicated in numerous Massachusetts school districts. Lara will inspire conference attendees as she shares the highlights, challenges, and successes of this collaborative school garden program. 

Other Workshops:

Addressing Science Misconceptions
Ana Maria Caballero, Nature Education Specialist at the Arnold Arboretum 

Composting and Worm Bins: How to make it happen
James Tiberii of Mass DEP’s Green Team

Developing a Curriculum-based School Garden Program (without overwhelming teachers)
Kim Foster and Harriet Wong, Burbank Elementary PTA

A Garden of Wonder: Cultivating awareness
Leora Mallach, Co-founder of Beantown Jewish Gardens

Garden Inquiry: Using your school garden to teach the Mass State Science Standards
Judith Sumner, Botanist, Author, and Educator

Garden Resources for Elementary School Science Programs      
Cindy Jaczko

Growing Food and Youth
Christine Schell, School Coordinator at Natick Community Organic Farm

Lessons from the Green City Growers
Caitie Dwyer-Huppert, Education Manager at Green City Growers 

Lessons Learned in the Willett Garden: A Journey of Growth
Kim Gattoni, First Grade Teacher and Willett Garden Co-Chair and Founder

Make it Easy: Recommended Models for School Gardens
Kate Lacouture, Landscape Architect, Garden Activist, and Owner Green Circle Design

Monarch Come Play with Me
Brenda Walker-Homan, Certified Master Gardener and retired Kindergarten Teacher

Salad Days – Plant School Garden Seeds, Harvest and Prepare a Cafeteria Treat
Janice McPhillips, Farm Educator and Outreach Coordinator of Holly Hill Farm

Seed Saving and Managing a Seed Library
Hannah Traggis, Senior Horticulturist of Mass Hort

The Soup Garden and Other Themed School Gardens
Leann Shamash, former Education Director at Congregation Beth Elohim, Acton 

Using and Teaching in a School Garden
Melissa Pace, Lifetime Master Gardener and Garden Educator at Mass Hort

*Mass Hort reserves the right to substitute workshops and presentations.

Thanks to our Sponsor: