International Master Gardener Conference to bring over 1,100 gardeners, experts, and enthusiasts to Kansas City Region
The International Master Gardener Conference (IMGC) will convene June 18-22 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kansas. More than 1,100 gardening enthusiasts are expected to attend the conference, most of whom will be Extension Master Gardeners from the U.S., Canada, and England.
“Conference participants will learn the newest horticulture trends and sustainability practices to share with gardeners in their home communities,” said Dennis Patton, Kansas State University Research and Extension horticulture agent. “We’re looking forward to showing them the beauty of the greater Kansas City metropolitan area and the majesty of surrounding areas, such as the Flint Hills.”
World-renowned speakers, more than 40 horticulture and botanical experts, and authors will lead educational sessions. Numerous tours and workshops support the conference theme of “Celebrate, Educate, and Grow”.
The host for the event is the Kansas State University Master Gardeners of Johnson County, Kansas. The Extension Master Gardener program, now in its 50th year, provides intensive horticultural training to individuals who then serve their communities through helplines, workshops, plant clinics, creating and maintaining gardens, and other projects. There are an estimated 80,000 master gardeners in the United States.
Events open to the public
Local residents are invited to participate in the public events that take place alongside the conference, including:
- A self-guided tour of six of the most exquisite private gardens in the Kansas City metro area.
- Internationally renowned speakers Leigh Hunt, from the Royal Horticultural Society in England; Sara Dykman, winner of the 2021 Outdoor Book Award; and Daniel J. Hinkley, best-selling author and plantsman. Speaker Sara Dykman is a Johnson County, KS native who made history as the first person to bike alongside the monarch butterfly on her 10,201-mile journey to help learn more about this keystone species.
- The Garden Thyme Marketplace, a tradeshow featuring more than ninety local and regional artists and craftspeople offering nature-inspired creations including jewelry, pottery and ceramics, fiber art, photography, painting, glass and metal art, specialty foods, and plants.
“We designed these public events for anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of gardening but is unable to attend the entire conference,” said Dennis Patton, Kansas State University Research and Extension horticulture agent. “They offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in our area since they’re also part of the international conference.”
Tickets for the public tour and featured speakers are available at www.johnson.k-state.edu.
Greening the event
The event hosts have made environmental stewardship a guiding principle to inspire sustainable actions and reduce the impact of the event. The three facets of the initiative include:
- Education about environmentally responsible gardening practices. Learn sustainable practices to use in your own program, community and home garden.
- Operation of the conference in a sustainable manner. They examined every aspect of the conference looking for ways to make it environmentally friendly, and chose a conference center with a robust sustainability program.
- Action of conference attendees in making sustainable choices. The event includes a green challenge to incentivize attendees to choose greener activities to earn points and win prizes. Activities include avoiding single-use plastic, attending environmentally-focused presentations, walking or carpooling to the event, and more.
For more information about the conference, visit imgc2023.com.