Saturday 03-02-24 09:00 am (Eastern) Snow Date: Sunday, 03-03-24

Location: Haggerty Education Center


Logo image for Community Garden Conference sponsored by the Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum

The Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Morris County are teaming up to present their Annual Community Garden Conference for the 14th year in a row. This year we are very excited to have Ben Flanner, Co-Founder and CEO of Brooklyn Grange as the keynote speaker. We have an impressive list of session speakers too, all experts in their field. They will cover topics relevant to not just community gardeners but backyard vegetable gardeners as well as garden managers, and those trying to establish a new community garden.

The topics for the 2023 conference are:

 Keynote Speaker Ben Flanner

Ben Flanner is co-founder and CEO of Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm. He is widely considered a pioneer for his groundbreaking model, which adapts existing green roof technology to intensively cultivate vegetables, beginning with Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, a pilot project on a 6,000 square foot Brooklyn roof, which Ben co-founded in 2009. A year later, in 2010, Ben and his partners scaled up the model and, in 2010, launched Brooklyn Grange, a commercial-scale urban farming business, eventually expanding to 2.5 acres spanning two roofs. Ben directs all agricultural endeavors on the farm, he brings his system
optimization background to bear, making sure the business remains as fiscally sound as it is ecologically healthy.

Morris County Agricultural and Natural Resource Agent, Rutgers Vegetable Expert and Conference Co-sponsor Peter Nitzsche

Pete will discuss the findings from the season-long community garden demonstration plot trials on the Genetic Diversity of Potatoes Grown from Seed.

 Farmer Shaun Ananko, Director of Agriculture and Education

Back by popular demand, Shaun presents his talk on Maximizing Food Yields – a topic of critical importance for community gardeners. A native of Morristown, Shaun Ananko began developing his love for farming as a small child when his mother taught him how to grow tomatoes in their home garden. Shaun was raised to appreciate the benefit of growing one’s own food, but has witnessed society move away from these values. Now as Farmer Shaun for Grow It Green Morristown, he is proud to share his knowledge of food cultivation to the Morristown community and students of local schools. 

 Rebecca Magron, Horticulturist from Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Hunterdon County

Rebecca presents her excellent talk on How to Read a Soil Test. We’ll use examples of soil tests taken at community gardens and encourage you to bring your won if you have questions. Rebecca first started her horticulture career in 1996 with Cornell University Regional Fruit Program and studied plant science and plant pathology at Cornell University.  Rebecca has worked in agricultural research on tree fruit crops with Cornell University and Cooperative Extension focusing on horticultural techniques to improve yield and reduce the reliance on pesticides.

 The Coordinator’s Round Table moderated by Ned Gardner, Manager of the Ted Largman Community Garden in Morris Township and Mike Dziomba, Manager of the Randolph Community Garden.

This is a chance for managers of community gardens to connect with other managers and get questions answered and share successes and not so successful endeavors they’ve encountered. The topic for the 2024 discussion is Bulk Purchasing Power for Community Gardens and is open to all attendees.

This program is eligible for 5.0 Rutgers Master Gardener CEU’s.

Registration for this program will close at 12:00 Noon on Friday, March 1.

Any Questions: Contact: mennist@arboretumfriends.net

Please register below and feel free to bring your own lunch and water.