Gardening Symposium - Christopher Newport University Gardening Symposium - Christopher Newport University
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Gardening Symposium


It is with deep regret that we are informing you of the cancellation of the Gardening Symposium. The decision to cancel was based on the latest scientific data as well as cautions from federal and state authorities about travel and large gatherings. We recognize that the timing of this decision has significantly inconvenienced many of you. However, this decision was made out of concern for the health and well-being of our participants, staff and the University community.

If you registered for this conference, a refund will be issued to you automatically. Please contact the office of Christopher Newport University's LifeLong Learning Society at (757) 269-4368 if you have any questions.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Schedule of events
7:45 - 8:45 a.m. Registration, Coffee, Continental Breakfast Freeman Center
8:45 - 9 a.m. Welcome and announcements Freeman Center
9 - 10 a.m. Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden - Peter Hatch Freeman Center
10:15 - 11:15 a.m. Foodscaping - Brie Arthur Freeman Center
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Introduction to Permaculture: 10 Crucial Steps for Growing Abundantly in Small Spaces - Nicky & David Schauder Freeman Center
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch Freeman Center
12:30 - 5 p.m. Plant sales, vendors, farmer's market, book sales, signings Freeman Center
2 - 3 p.m. Starting Seeds Successfully Using Biointensive Techniques - Nicky & David Schauder Freeman Center
3:15 - 4:15 p.m. Harvest to Home - Mary Kirk Cunningham Freeman Center
4:15 - 5 p.m. Visit the vendors Freeman Center


Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden

9 - 10 a.m.

Thomas Jefferson wrote that “The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture,” and Monticello’s 1,000-foot-long, terraced vegetable garden became an experimental laboratory, an Ellis Island of new and unusual vegetable novelties from around the globe. While growing over 330 vegetable and 170 fruit varieties, Jefferson was also a pioneer in supporting farmer’s markets and promoting vegetable cookery. This revolutionary garden resulted in a revolutionary cuisine in the kitchen at Monticello. Restored in 1984, the garden and the Jefferson legacy continue to inspire the farm to table movement today.

Peter Hatch is a professional gardener and historian with 38 years experience in the restoration, care, and interpretation of historic landscapes. Hatch is the celebrated author of four books on the gardens of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, where he served as director of gardens and grounds for 35 years. He has lectured in 38 states on Jefferson and the history of garden plants.


10:15 - 11:15 a.m.

Brie Arthur will present her signature “Foodscaping” design technique, a sustainable landscape practice that embraces beauty and bounty. This fascinating approach utilizes the resilient features found in natural ecosystems that allow you to grow more productive, beautiful and healthy gardens. Brie’s innovative approach, fresh ideas, plant recommendations and enthusiasm will fill you with inspiration.

Arthur studied landscape design and horticulture at Purdue University. With more than a decade of experience as a grower and propagator, she now promotes gardening throughout the U.S. and is considered one of the most exciting new gardening speakers in the country. She has appeared as a correspondent on the PBS Television show “Growing a Greener World” and her debut book The Foodscape Revolution has become a best seller.

An Introduction to Permaculture: 10 Crucial Steps for Growing Abundantly in Small Spaces

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Learn to visualize your garden in 10 dimensions with a design system called permaculture. It is an efficient and integrative system that observes and works with the natural environment, not against it. You will be introduced to new ideas and expand on old ones, both of which will increase the yield in your garden, while avoiding the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides and similar products.

Nicky and her husband, David Schauder, are passionate about helping suburban families grow their own food. Together, they run Permaculture Gardens, at dedicated to helping you grow abundantly! In 2017 Permaculture Gardens won the grand prize at the Green Festivals in Washington D.C. for “Most Innovative Sustainable Brand.” Their work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Permaculture Research Institute, Australia and They have started a permaculture garden after-school program for the elementary students in their local public school.

Starting Seeds Successfully Using Biointensive Techniques

2 - 3 p.m.

In this hands-on workshop David and Nicky Schauder cover effective techniques for starting plants from seed. Biointensive techniques that include the importance of soil life, seed spacing and watering needs will be demonstrated. Attendees will leave with a tray of their own planted seeds.

Harvest to Home

3:15 - 4:15 p.m.

“Harvest to Home” is a method for increasing your garden productivity while making it a magical place filled with natural surprises. Learn about sustainable practices in both public and private settings that promote healthy lifestyles and have no boundaries with regard to age, abilities, experiences or backgrounds. Mary Kirk Cunningham will focus on showing you how to live in harmony with nature as you produce crops, relax in a symphony of sensory plants and enjoy the restorative nature of gardens. Take home a bounty of heirloom seeds and ideas to excite the interests of children, grandchildren, students and spouses.

Cunningham has an MA in early childhood education, a background in environmental education and has taught school for 17 years. She founded and coordinates the garden lab at Frederick Douglass Elementary School in Leesburg, VA, where she was the 2016-17 Teacher of the Year. She is passionate about introducing people to gardening and using school gardens to teach across curricula. She has served as a consultant to the Smithsonian, most notably in the development of their Seeds of Change curriculum

Conference Rates

Early Registration

(through February 29, 2020)


Regular Registration

(beginning March 1, 2020)


Buffet lunch (optional)

Late fee after March 13, 2020 $5

No refunds will be given after March 13, 2020. A $10 processing fee will be charged for all refunds.

Vendor Opportunities

Please contact the LifeLong Learning Society for more information about vendor opportunities at the annual Gardening Symposium.

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Christopher Newport University
LifeLong Learning Society
(757) 269-4368

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