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Cultivating Place: The Heirloom Gardener, Traditional Plants and Skills for the Modern World" with John Forti

Photos courtesy of John Forti & Timber Press, Bio Photo by Rachael Montejo all rights reserved.

John Forti is a garden historian, historic garden horticulturist, and slow food advocate. He has put his years of experience and knowledge into The Heirloom Gardener, Traditional Plants, and Skills for the Modern World – inviting us to lean into the breadth and depth of human millennia-long relationship with plant life.  

John joins Cultivating Place this week to share more about his work and this compilation, which introduces and/or reminds readers of age-old skills for a more directly lived life - from the distillation of floral essences to the uses of kelp to the relationship between the Algonquin culture’s word for the fruit that in English is known as strawberry, wuttahimneash (or heart berry), being related to the heart health associated with the fruit. 

Most importantly, however, The Heirloom Gardener, amplified by Mary Azarian’s brilliant woodcut images, encourages us to upset the apple cart of mass production and commodification and look back to the many streams of land-based wisdom still available to us in order to find a better way forward. Join us!

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The show is available as a podcast on SoundCloud, iTunes, Google Podcast, and Stitcher. To read more and for many more photos please visit

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Jennifer Jewell is the creator and host of the national award-winning, weekly public radio program and podcast, Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History & the Human Impulse to Garden, Jennifer Jewell is a gardener, garden writer, and gardening educator and advocate. Particularly interested in the intersections between gardens, the native plant environments around them, and human culture, she is the daughter of garden and floral designing mother and a wildlife biologist father.
Matt Fidler is a producer and sound designer with over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs. He has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.