fbpx Edible Gardening Workshop Series | The Morton Arboretum

Edible Gardening Workshop Series

Schedule and location

Following state recommendations to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), this program has been cancelled. For refund and more information, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness and Prevention webpage. 


Saturdays, March 14 through April 11, 2020, 9:30 a.m. to noon

  • Section A: Saturday, March 14 Productive, Purposeful Gardens-Arbor Room, Thornhill Education Center (sold out)
  • Section B: Saturday, March 21 From Seed to Seed: Saving Seed from Heritage Varieties-Sycamore Room
  • Section C: Saturday, April 4 Growing Medicinal and Culinary Herb Gardens-Sycamore Room
  • Section D: Saturday, April 11 Transformation in the Garden: Growing Organic for Today and Tomorrow-Sycamore Room

Fees and Registration

$39.00 member
$46.00 nonmember
(Fees include admission to the Arboretum)

Course description

Join us for the annual Edible Gardening Workshop Series held each spring at The Morton Arboretum! Each week, gardening experts will share practical tips on growing your own food and inspire you with new ways to create beautiful, productive, edible gardens. This year is all about doing more: with your garden, for your community, and for the future. You won't want to miss it.

This series has something for everyone. Whether you are new to gardening or you are an experienced gardener looking for more, grab a cup of coffee, learn from the best of the Midwest and get growing!

March 14: Productive, Purposeful Gardens 

Imagine growing an edible garden so bountiful that it overflows with produce. In this workshop, learn to maximize results in your edible garden through good design, plant selection, and smart techniques. Then find out how you can use your overflowing harvest to make a difference in your community.  Learn how The GardenWorks Project builds gardens to promote food security and to assist hungry families within the region. More importantly, learn how you can join the fight against hunger, and not only grow for yourself, but for your neighbors and those in need. This workshop will teach the following:

  • how to install and prepare a raised bed garden;
  • tips and techniques on building a food garden at home;
  • companion planting, square foot gardening, and succession planting;
  • how to grow a donation garden in your own home;
  • how to harvest and prepare produce for donation to your local food pantry.

The workshop will include a presentation on the community gardening movement within the region, and all participants will leave with materials and resources to start a garden at home. Grow a good garden, and use your garden for good!

About The GardenWorks Project
The GardenWorks Project is a non-profit organization that serves families within the western Chicagoland region and promotes suburban organic agriculture to improve the well-being of our community, the environment, and those facing food insecurity. We empower, educate, and support all food growers in their efforts to nourish their families and neighbors in need.  Since 2012, the organization has built food gardens for 415 families, supported 14 community gardens, and provided access to fresh produce to over 1600 individuals. In addition, the organization promotes the local food system with its Food Growers Network, a donation based membership offering educational events, resources, and tools for the home gardener. To learn more about the mission and services of the organization, please visit www.gardenworksproject.org.

Instructor: Jeannie Iseman, The Gardenworks Project
Jeannie Iseman has been the Executive Director of The Gardenworks Project since 2016. With a passion for gardening and community building, Jeannie Iseman and her husband have spent many years using their backyard as an informal community garden for friends and neighbors.


March 21: From Seed to Seed: Saving Seed from Heritage Varieties 

What is seed-to-seed growing? In this workshop, you'll learn to grow food from seeds, as well as how to save seeds to start again next season. This practice is sustainable and self-reliant! Join us for a hands-on class led by farmers from Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, IA. We will cover growing your own transplants, how to know when seed crops are ready for harvest, basic seed processing techniques, and guidelines for safe seed storage. Heritage seeds, or heirlooms, are old-time favorites that produce plants with the same traits planting after planting, season after season, generation after generation. Learn why planting with heirlooms is a great idea. 

Instructors: Sarah Cousins and Rochelle Wiedenhoeft, Seed Savers Exchange
Sarah Cousins is the Greenhouse Manager and leads the insect pollination program at Seed Savers Exchange. Sarah has a Certificate of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems from the University of California, Santa Cruz and has a background in market farming with a focus on community food sovereignty. 

Rochelle Wiedenhoeft manages Collection seed regenerations at Seed Savers Exchange. Rochelle studied Biology and Ethnobotany at University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, and has a background in sustainable agriculture. She loves working with and learning from seeds, especially when seed processing and cleaning.

About Seed Savers Exchange
Seed Savers Exchange is a nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve heirloom and open-pollinated seed and plant varieties through regeneration, distribution, and a seed exchange. Since 1975, Seed Savers Exchange has led a grassroots movement by building a network of people committed to collecting, conserving, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants, and educating people about the value of genetic and cultural diversity. Seed Savers Exchange preserves over 20,000 varieties of seed in a seed bank near Decorah, IA.   


April 4: Growing Medicinal and Culinary Herb Gardens 

Growing a garden can be healing in so many ways, whether you are replenished by the healing herbs you grow, the time spent outdoors, or the empowerment that comes with growing your own food. Join co-founder and CEO of the Urban Growers Collective and dig deep into the how’s and why’s of herbal gardens.

Instructor: Erika Allen, Urban Growers Collective
Erika Allen is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Operations for the Urban Growers Collective, where she has established urban farms and agriculture training and education programs. She is passionate about social justice and working with multicultural groups in the elimination of racism and oppression. Erika served as Commissioner for the Chicago Park District from 2012 – 2017 and serves on the boards of Chicago Food Policy Action Council and Neighbor Space, as well as a founding member of the Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative. Erika is a visual artist and consults with individuals and organizations to support visioning and planning of social change objectives. Erika Allen founded and was the Director of Growing Power – Chicago for 15-years prior to the closing of the organization in 2017.

April 11: Transformation in the Garden: Growing Organic for Today and Tomorrow  

Organic edible gardening is more than a hobby -- it’s also a way of life. In this workshop, learn how organic gardening can change how we see the world, and how we can respond to changes in climate and our local environment  through organic gardening techniques and principles.

Jeanne Nolan, founder of The Organic Gardener, Ltd, will begin the morning with a talk on how organic gardening transformed her as she embarked on a journey toward a fulfilling and sustainable life. Then get practical tips from The Organic Gardener’s edible landscape designer Maureen Mailand on how to grow a thriving organic edible garden in the unpredictable face of climate change, including long periods of drought, intense rain events, shifting frost dates, and more.

Go home armed with inspiration and practical knowledge to grow organically for today and tomorrow.

Instructors: Jeanne Nolan and Maureen Maitland, The Organic Gardener, Ltd. 
Jeanne Nolan founder of The Organic Gardener, Ltd., has been growing food organically for over 30 years. She is the author of the 2013 Random House book: From the Ground Up. In this presentation, she shares her inspirational personal story that began as a teen in search of a less materialistic more authentic lifestyle. Journey through her transformative years of communal farm life, her return to the suburbs and the ultimate development of her business within the food movement. The Organic Gardener Ltd. today serves over 200+ corporate and residential gardens in Chicagoland and beyond and employees a team of 20+ dynamic garden educators.

Maureen is an Edible Landscape Designer and Garden Educator with The Organic Gardener Ltd. Maureen has been with The Organic Gardener team since 2016 and is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor. She has an academic background in Humane Education with broad experience in sustainable industries such as hydroponic farms and farm animal sanctuaries. She currently teaches a 10-week Edible Landscape design certification course at the Chicago Botanic Garden with Windy City Harvest.

Course number


Course details

Notes: Held indoors. Register for each week separately. Coffee and light refreshments will be served. Limit 60 per week.

Edible Gardening Workshop Series