The 2017 America in Bloom National Symposium is coming to New England for the first time this October. The Town of Holliston will host the event October 5 – 7, and attendees from out of state will lodge at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center.
The conference kicks off with an East Coast Garden Tour on Thursday, October 5 from 10 – 4, advance registration required. If you want to experience horticultural heritage in the Boston area at its best, this tour is for you! We’ll start by visiting one of the oldest and finest garden centers in the Boston area, Weston Nurseries. Known for offering exceptional plants and garden ideas, this nursery in Hopkinton, MA also has an amazing railroad garden. After touring the garden center we’ll enjoy lunch hosted by Peter Mezitt, fourth generation nursery owner. Then we will head to The Gardens at Elm Bank in Wellesley, MA, headquarters of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here we will enjoy special tours of 12 display gardens, including an historic Olmsted Italianate Garden as well as the Bressingham Garden designed by English nurseryman Adrian Bloom. The last stop on the tour is to Wellesley College, rated one of the most beautiful small college campuses in the country. We will have a special tour of their botanic garden which now focuses on the fundamental role of plants in nature and culture. The cost is $50 and includes lunch. Tour is limited to 50 people so register early.
If you prefer, take a tour of the Urban Farming Institute from 1 – 4. If you believe in sourcing local, fresh food, don’t miss this tour! The Urban Farming Institute is a brand-new concept in the historically-diverse Roxbury/Dorchester/Mattapan neighborhoods of Boston. The Institute’s mission is to develop and promote urban farming as a commercial sector within the city and to create green collar jobs for residents. It is also committed to engaging its urban community in building a healthier and more locally-based food system. The Fowler-Clark-Epstein Farm, currently under reconstruction, is becoming the center for celebrating the agricultural heritage of the Boston area as well as the cultural and historic heritage of this unique community. On this tour, you will see first-hand the work the Institute is doing to enable urban farming through farm creation, farmer training, public education, and policy change, and how the Institute brings people in urban neighborhoods closer to food production. Your tour leader is Barbara Knecht, partner in “Strategies for Cities.” Barbara has brought 30 years of developing urban land for public good and a love of all things edible to her work developing urban farm sites. The cost is $35. Tour is limited to 11 people so register early.
Prior to that evening’s silent auction and cocktail reception there will be a Mayor and Elected Leaders Reception, and later, a Celebration Dinner.
The Symposium begins in earnest on Friday, with a Keynote Presentation by Ken Kruckemeyer, board member of LivableStreets Alliance and partner in “Strategies for Cities.” Ken specializes in the design of civil infrastructure focusing in pedestrian and bicycle corridors as well as roadway and bridge design. Historic preservation has become a fundamental tool for strengthening communities. When understood as a combination of physical and human attributes, it can provide a framework for communities to build on their assets and improve health, affordability, prosperity, and well-being. Historic preservation can make it possible to achieve a wide range of public goals, including small business incubation, affordable housing, sustainable development, neighborhood renewal, heritage tourism, and economic development. By examples primarily drawn from his Boston experience, Ken will address the importance of historic preservation and the role that walkable corridors play in an effective immersion in the historic character of a community.
Friday brings a host of panel presentations such as Creating a Sense of Place Downtown, and a How-To Guide to Improving Your Town Through Horticulture. Afternoon and evening tours of the Freedom Trail and the Rose Kennedy Greenway, plus Mount Auburn Cemetery, are on offer.
On Saturday the Showcase of Innovation continues, and America in Bloom President Katy Moss Warner will take a brief look at collective successes in her morning Keynote Speech. A lunch and Holliston Walking Tour round out the afternoon, and that evening, the America in Bloom Awards Banquet will take place.
Full registration is $345, and by registering online at http://www.americainbloom.org/Symposium/Registration.aspx before September 8 you will receive a discount. You may also call 614-453-0744, or email aib@AmericainBloom.org.