Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Sixth Annual Community Garden Conference at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Mar 06, 2016 03:51PM

Six year ago, the Friends of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum and Rutgers Cooperative Extension saw a need to increase the public’s knowledge about New Jersey’s community gardens, develop a database with contact information, explore the best management practices, and to provide educational opportunities for vegetable gardeners. What started as an idea evolved into a full-blown day-long conference for community gardeners. This year, the sixth annual Community Garden Conference will be held on March 5, 9am to 4:30 pm, at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, 353 East Hanover Avenue, in Morris Township.

The keynote speaker is Karen Washington, known as the godmother, the queen, and the grande dame of community gardening. For over 25 years, she has worked tirelessly turning empty lots in the Bronx into productive community gardens. Ms. Washington previously served as board president for the New York City Community Garden Coalition and was on the board of the New York Botanical Garden. She also co-founded the Black Urban Growers, an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012, Ebony magazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans, and in 2014 she was honored with the James Beard Leadership Award. She has advocated for food, for land, and for social justice for all, and has inspired thousands of residents of New York City — and food and gardening activists throughout the country — to grow and bring healthy food to families, especially in low-income or urban areas.

The conference’s educational sessions, all taught by experts, will cover topics such as Growing Great Tomatoes, Beekeeping, Soil Management, Small Space Gardening, Growing Lettuce, and Best Management Practices for Garden Coordinators. Attendees have the chance to earn 5.0 Rutgers Master Gardener CEUs.

“It’s a day chock-full of networking opportunities, educational programs, information gathering, and a wonderful way to emphasize the community aspect of Community Gardening,” says  Cynthia Triolo, Community Garden Coordinator for the Morris County Park Commission. The commission currently protects and maintains 18,600 acres at 38 distinct sites in Morris County and offers a year-round calendar of events and activities.

To find the complete list of sessions and register for the conference, visit

Upcoming Events Near You


February 2020



Learn More About Natural Awakenings
Global Brief
Health Brief
2020 Editorial Calendar