Shelburne Museum, Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education

6000 Shelburne Rd, Shelburne, VT 05482 | More about the Shelburne Museum  


The 2019 conference was held November 2, 2019 at the Shelburne Museum and was a huge success! There were a total of 130 in-person participants, and 15 on-line participants. Participant testimonials can be viewed to your right.

This website will be updated with the 2020 conference details once they are available. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for the 2020 conference, please email

2019 State Conference Highlights

Photos from the 2019 Master Gardener State Conference


2019 Conference Program

2020 Schedule will be added when it becomes available.

8:00-8:55 am

Registration & Lite Breakfast

 Hosted by the UVM Extension Master Gardener NW Chapter

8:55 – 9:00 am


Beret Halverson, State Coordinator

9:00 – 10:20 am

Session 1

Victor Izzo and Ann Hazelrigg

 Pests and Plant Diseases in a Changing Climate


Raffle & Coffee Break

10:35 – 11:35 am

Session 2

Matthew Benson

Growing Beautiful Food: A Gardener's Guide to Cultivating Extraordinary Vegetables and Fruit 


 Morning Break

11:50 am-12:50 pm

Session 3

Julie Moir Messervy

Designing a Home Outside: Creating Landscapes of Beauty and Meaning

12:50-1:50 pm


1:50-2:50 pm


GARY OPPENHEIMER Enabling America’s Gardeners To End Hunger and Food Waste (And Climate Change).


 Afternoon Break 


Session 4

Charlie Nardozzi

 Is This A Garden Native, A Weed or An Invasive Plant ?


Ann Hazelrigg

Ann Hazelrigg is the director of the Plant Diagnostic Clinic, a statewide resource for commercial growers, Master Gardeners, home gardeners, and the general public to identify disease, insect and weed samples and make recommendations for control based on integrated pest management (IPM) principles. She also oversees the Master Gardener Program, the UVM Pesticide Education and Safety Program and the Extension E-IPM program. Her areas of expertise include; Plant Pathology, Integrated Pest Management, and Pesticide Education.

Victor Izzo

Victor Izzo

Vic Izzo is an instructor and Research Associate in the UVM Plant and Soil Science Department. He’s also an Instructor in the Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group. Vic also teaches at Johnson State and Champlain College. Prior to arriving in Vermont, Vic served as a staff biologist and educator on several domestic and international Earthwatch conservation programs where he had the unique opportunity to witness the complex interaction of local communities and land use policies. His areas of expertise include; evolutionary ecology, entomology, sustainable pest management, and agroecology.

Matthew Benson

Matthew Benson

Matthew is a photographer, writer, and organic farmer. His photography is in the permanent collection of the International Center of Photography, New York as well as numerous private collections. He has contributed photography and text to many magazines and books is the author of “Growing Beautiful Food” (2015), “The Photographic Garden: Mastering the Art of Digital Garden Photography”(2013).  The restoration of Stonegate Farm from an 1860s Carpenter Gothic estate into a beautiful farm and CSA has been a major undertaking. Located 60 miles north of New York City in the Hudson River Valley, he cultivates organic vegetables, fruit, honey, flowers, and medicinal herbs and he believes that health and sustainable land stewardship is an art form. He recently co-founded Cultivate Apothecary, a farm-grown botanical beauty and wellness brand. Matthew also serves on a Congressional Agriculture Committee advocating for small organic growers.

Stonegate Farm NY


Julie Moir Messervy

Julie Moir Messervy

With more than three decades of experience, nine books, and numerous high profile lectures, Julie Moir Messervy is an innovative leader in landscape design theory and practice. Graduate study in Japan instilled a value in natural beauty and a desire to share that with as many other people as possible. Her team of women creates landscapes of beauty and meaning for homeowners and organizations throughout the US and Canada. Their studio is in Bellows Falls, Vermont. She is excited about the potential for her app to reach a wider audience.
Julie holds a BA from Wellesley and an MA Architecture and City Planning from MIT.

Gary Oppenheimer

Gary Oppenheimer

After graduating from college with a degree in psychology, he promptly lost all interest in the field and instead became one of the early geeks in the personal computing arena working from a home office located on a boat. Gary became a Master Gardener after buying his own home in New Jersey in the early 2000s, and he quickly found a passion for gardening and growing food. Gary went on to become an environmental commissioner and director of a community garden and his interest in the environment and food waste grew. Gary Oppenheimer founded after seeing the increasing hunger problem in America and the amount of wasted food in people’s gardens. is an initiative that aims to make it easier for garden owners to donate excess harvest and thereby feed one out of six Americans. Gary has since inspired millions with his initiative and continues to believe that the smallest things can make the biggest difference. World hunger and food waste are serious issues but together we can and should make a difference. Backed by the USDA, Google Inc., the National Gardening Association, the National Council of Churches and many faith and service organizations, is now helping 8,491 food pantries be accessible to local gardeners and other donors.

Charlie Nardozzi

Charlie Nardozzi

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized and prolific garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker.  He got started gardening on his family’s farm in Connecticut, and he later volunteered on the UVM Extension Master Gardener Helpline while he was a Horticulture student at the University of Vermont’s Department of Plant and Soil Science. For the past 4 years, Charlie has worked with the Vermont Community Garden Network promoting school, community, veteran and employee gardens in Vermont through their Green Thumbs at Work and Grow It Trainings. Charlie also leads food and garden tours in New England and around the world. Go to for his free and informative newsletter.

Phoenix Books

Will be at the conference selling books related to conference topics during lunch and breaks. Books may also be purchased online, please go to the links below for more information.

EMG: Designing a Home Outside
EMG: Growing Beautiful Food
EMG: Hunger and Food Waste
EMG: Is this a Garden Native, A Weed or An Invasive?
EMG: Plants + Pest diseases in Changing Climate

Have a non-gardening spouse or friend?

Why not bring your guest and make a weekend of it? Your guest can explore the Museum grounds and investigate other area attractions while you attend the conference. Afterward, have dinner at one of the many restaurants in Shelburne or nearby Burlington. On your day together, visit places like Shelburne Farms, the local vineyard, craft breweries, and area shops. Perhaps you’d like to be impressed by the University of Vermont campus or to walk the famous Church Street Marketplace in Burlington.

Looking for a place to stay? Several Area Hotels Are Offering Discounts to Conference Participants

Hotel Vermont:

Just CLICK HERE and enter your stay information into the page and you will be able to make reservations at your special rate.

DoubleTree by Hilton Burlington: Hotel Link

For Double Tree Group Rates Click Here

Courtyard Burlington Harbor:

Book your group rate of $199 for University of Vermont Extension Master Gardeners. CLICK HERE.

2019 Conference Committee

  • Beret Halverson, (Chair)
  • Lisa Chouinard, Administrative Support
  • Bob Kesner, Addison & Chittenden Counties (Marketing)
  • Carol Holmquist, Chittenden County (Fundraising)
  • Karen Burke, Chittenden County (Speakers)
  • Judy Mirro, Orange County (Speakers & Food)
  • Linda Pitkin, Addison County (Marketing)


2020 To Be Determined


2020 To Be Determined

Feedback from 2019 Participants:

This was an amazing conference. I was so inspired by all the speakers and am already planning in my head things to change in my garden and yard for next year. There were so many options I had never thought of before. I can't wait to learn more.

It was inspirational to learn the important role gardeners play in supporting biodiversity. Every garden counts!

The topics were all important and relevant, and each speaker offered loads of inspiration and new ways of thinking alongside practical, useful information.

Being a Master Gardener means helping to spread your knowledge to the community. Having an annual conference like this allows you to bulk up on your personal encyclopedia and not only benefits you, the gardener, but also all the other gardeners you come into contact with.

I learned that beauty, functionality, and community capacity building are integral to gardening and are necessary components of a healthier tomorrow.

Equal parts eye-opening and inspirational. Excellent variety of topics and speakers, very well organized and in a gorgeous location on top. I was blown away by the #'s Gary Oppenheimer shared on waste of food and how is offering a solution to connect fresh food to the community members who need it. For sure I'll be adding some extra plants to my veggie garden next year as a result. Every speaker held my attention and gave me much to consider in my relationship with my own gardens, the community and the work I do. Incredibly impressed with how this event was organized and run. Thank you for a fantastic day.