The Garden as a Place of Collaboration, Stewardship & Connection

November 5-6, 2021 (online)

A conference for everyone who loves to garden in Vermont and beyond, providing advanced education for UVM Extension Master Gardeners and garden enthusiasts! This year, an amazing lineup of speakers will teach about the indigenous agricultural practices and their application in today’s gardens, how mycorrhizal fungi enhance plant health, mushroom foraging, heirloom plant cultivation, food resiliency, and how to develop community connections through gardens.


12:00 - 12:05 p.m.                              

Welcome & Logistics

Pam Kennedy & Mimi Carter Haley, Conference Co-Chairs

12:05 - 12:10 p.m.

Land Acknowledgement

Pam Kennedy & Mimi Carter Haley, Conference Co-Chairs

12:10 - 12:55 p.m

History of Indigenous Agricultural Practices & Their Application in Today’s Gardens & Landscapes

Dr. Fred Wiseman & Chief Don Stevens

12:55 - 1:25 p.m


1:25 - 2:10 p.m

Fungal Consciousness: Embracing the Mycelium to Grow A Healthy Planet

Michael Phillips

2:10 - 2:40 p.m


2:40 - 3:10 p.m

It’s All Connected: Food Resiliency in Vermont

Travis Reynolds

3:10 - 3:30 p.m




12:00 - 12:05 p.m.                        

Welcome & Logistics

Pam Kennedy & Mimi Carter Haley, Conference Co-Chairs

12:05 - 12:10 p.m      

Land Acknowledgement

Pam Kennedy & Mimi Carter Haley, Conference Co-Chairs

12:10 - 12:40 p.m

Stories From Over the Garden Fence: Inspiring New Gardeners in Your Community

Members of the Barton Community Garden

12:40 - 12:55 p.m


12:55 - 1:40 p.m

Growing & Foraging Mushrooms

Ari Rockland-Miller

1:40 - 2:10 p.m


2:10 - 2:55 p.m

New Heirloom Garden Designs for Old-Fashioned Fragrance & Flavor

Ellen Ecker Ogden

2:55 - 3:25


3:25 - 3:30 p.m

Closing & Door Prize Announcement

Pam Kennedy & Mimi Carter Haley, Conference Co-Chairs



The breakout room discussions will be an opportunity to reflect on your impressions of the conference, share wisdom from your own gardening experiences, and network with UVM Extension Master Gardeners. All are welcome!

3:45 - 3:50 p.m            

Introduction / Head to Breakout Rooms

3:50 - 4:40 p.m

Breakout Rooms

4:40 - 4:45 p.m

Wrap-up Meeting



2021 Conference Speakers & Presentations

History of Indigenous Agricultural Practices & Their Application in Today’s Gardens & Landscapes

don stevens

Chief Don Stevens;

Chief of the Nulhegan Abenaki is also the Executive director of their non-profit, “Abenaki Helping Abenaki” which is responsible for all the tribal programs and services.  An engaging spokesperson, Chief Stevens helped lead the fight for state recognition of the Abenaki people of Vermont. 

fred wisemanDr. Fred Wiseman

A Missisquoi Abenaki, ethnobotanist, retired professor and former chair of the Department of Humanities at Johnson State College, Dr. Wiseman researches crops, agriculture and cuisine of the Wabanaki region. Through his Seeds of Renewal project, Professor Wiseman is on a mission to assist and encourage the Abenaki tradition of seed saving and indigenous gardening by helping to track down rare or long-lost seeds native to northern New England. He is the author of The Seven Sisters.

In this session, Dr. Wiseman and Chief Stevens will talk about the History of Indigenous Agricultural Practices & Their Application in Today’s Gardens & Landscapes. It's time for us to rethink the wisdom of the first people. Indigenous people moved to North America many thousands of years before Europeans arrived. During that time they bred varieties of vegetables for best taste, productivity, and tolerance of climate. They developed forest farming of desirable fruit and nut trees. They rotated crops and interplanted for sustainable harvests. Arriving Europeans thought that God had provided them a garden of Eden, but the indigenous people were very messy gardeners. 

Fungal Consciousness: Embracing the Mycelium to Grow A Healthy Planet

Michael Phillips;

michael phillips

Michael is an orchardist, a scientist, a speaker and a writer. He is nationally known for organic orchard practices  and a spokesperson for regenerative agriculture. He and his wife, Nancy, are stewards of Heartsong Farm and Lost Nation Orchard. He is author of the Holistic Orchard and Mycorrhizal Planet.

In this session, Michael will take you on a lively exploration of soil biology and healthy plant metabolism will rouse every gardener and fruit grower to think deeper. How mycorrhizal fungi enhance plant health is absolutely stunning. Nutrients are delivered by means of fungus-root synergy. A boost to green immune function helps keep disease at bay. Expansive fungal networks bring resiliency to ecosystems. Soil aggregate formation addresses carbon flow. Yet for the longest time, we have ignored basic soil biology and instead disturbed ecosystems at our own peril. Time to change all that, and fast! Coming to see crop communities through the lens of a "common root being" will prove fundamental for earth stewards

It’s All Connected: Food Resiliency in Vermont

Travis W. Reynolds

Dr. Travis W. Reynolds is an agricultural economist with a background in public policy analysis, rural development, environmental studies, and organic farming. He works with teams of international and interdisciplinary scholars in applied research at the intersection of agriculture, food security, and the environment. For the past decade, he has studied relationships between farm management, economic development, and ecosystem services to alleviate poverty in smallholder farming communities in sub-Saharan Africa with sustainability and resilience. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics (CDAE) at the University of Vermont and a Fellow at the Gund Institute for Environment. His family farm is in the Northeast Kingdom, in the town of Stannard.

Topic: It’s All Connected; Food Resiliency in Vermont

Over the past decade there has been rising awareness of vulnerabilities in our food systems in Vermont and globally. Vermont’s agricultural response to Hurricane Irene and the Covid-19 Pandemic have revealed many strengths in Vermont food systems, but also opportunities for improvement. Dr. Reynolds will describe how Vermonters contribute to food system resilience and suggest coping skills for the years ahead as we face further challenges.

Stories From Over the Garden Fence: Inspiring New Gardeners in Your Community

Pam Kennedy + Mimi Haley, and other avid gardeners

Barton Community Garden

In this session, members of the BCGG will tell the story of the garden, how it has grown, and how it has affected their lives. They will share the challenges and provide time tested recommendations on winning vegetable varieties and gardening practices and engaging an entire community in working, supporting and learning together.

Growing & Foraging Mushrooms

ari rockland-millerAri Rockland-Miller

Ari is a writer, instructor and lecturer on wild and cultivated mushrooms and edible plants. He is co-founder of The Mushroom Forager, LLC and an ardent mycophile who enjoys nothing more than the exhilarating feeling of the mushroom hunt. Over the years he has found hundreds of pounds of gourmet and medicinal wild mushrooms, and he loves sharing his knowledge and adventures with blog readers and workshop participants. Ari has facilitated over 200 presentations and hands-on workshops to over 4,000 mycophiles from around the world. He finds inspiration in the gourmet mycorrhizal mushrooms, like porcini and chanterelles, which only thrive in the wild and resist cultivation. He became an expert in cultivating shiitake mushrooms in agroforestry systems when he managed Cornell University's Mushroom Research Project and Agroforestry teaching site and farm, the MacDaniels Nut Grove. Ari also currently works on land use policy and farmland conservation for the State of Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

In this session, Ari will describe outdoor log cultivation of four varieties of mushrooms (oyster, shitake, lion's mane, and wine caps), then move on to identification, foraging, and harvesting of mushrooms in the wild. Focused on the fruit of the mycelium organization, he will present the seasons, or target time for specific varieties and offer strategic timing to forage. His presentation will be simple, accessible and practical in scope.

New Heirloom Garden Designs for Old Fashioned Fragrance & Flavor

ellen ecker ogdenEllen Ecker Ogden

Ellen Ecker Ogden is a kitchen garden designer, and author of five books featuring her designs and recipes for cooks who love to garden. Her books include The New Heirloom Garden (Rodale 2021),  The Complete Kitchen Garden (Stewart, Tabori and Chang 2011),  and  From the Cook’s Garden, based on the seed catalog she started in 1984. She lives in Manchester Village, Vermont.

In this session, Ellen will share why heirlooms matter, and inspire you to plant an heirloom garden for the best tasting vegetables, and most fragrant old fashioned flowers. Featuring photos from her newest book, she will walk you through the six steps to successful kitchen garden design with an eye towards beauty, productivity and creating sanctuary for yourself and nature.

Registration Info:

Deadline: November 4

    Registration fee: $45


Thanks to Our Sponsors!

Gold Level Sponsor:

Lamb Lumber, Lake Placid, N.Y.

Business/Non-profit Sponsor:

Gardeners Supply Company

Noyle W. Johnson Insurance Agency

Green Level Sponsor:

King Arthur Flour


Pheonix Books has put together this great reading list for this event!

Learn more here

Chapter Donors:

Bennington Chapter
Northwest Chapter
Rutland Chapter
Windsor Chapter

We would like to thank all the personal donors who supported this conference!

Help us raise funds for the conference!

Donate Here!

Important Info:

  • November 5-6, 2021 from 12:00 - 3:30 p.m.
  • Post-Conference Volunteer Meeting:  Nov. 6, 3:45 - 4:45 p.m.
  • Online via Zoom due to COVID-19; recordings will be available.


For conference questions, please contact:

For registration-related questions, please contact:

To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, contact UVM Event Services at or 802-656-5665, ext. 3 by Oct. 15.