Garden Lifestyle

Celebrate the Foods, Plants and Folkways of the Southern United States

We are gearing up for the 29th Annual Herb Harvest Fall Festival 2018 and Lavish Herbal Feast 6 PM October 4, 2018.

Homegrown whipporwill cowpeas will be on the menu for the Herb Harvest Fall Festival.
Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger

We are gearing up for the 29th Annual Herb Harvest Fall Festival 2018 and Lavish Herbal Feast 6 PM October 4, 2018.The Herb Harvest Fall Festival Workshop is October 5 & 6, 2018 and we will be celebrating the Culinary, Medicinal and Gardening Traditions of the Southern United States, South of U.S. Highway 40. You won’t want to miss this event!

The speakers are presenting a variety of interesting topics that you won’t want to miss. For the schedule go to:

Renee Shepherd is widely regarded as a pioneering innovator in introducing international specialty vegetables and herbs for home gardeners and gourmet restaurants. She founded Renee’s Garden in 1998 to do what she likes best, offering the very best seeds for cooking gardeners through garden centers and nurseries and directly to home gardeners through her website Renee chooses all the seed varieties offered by her company, and writes all the packet copy based on extensive personal experience. Renee’s Garden features her carefully selected, well trialed choices of both Certified Organic and conventional seeds for exciting new and time-tested heirloom gourmet vegetables, culinary herbs and a very wide range of flowers, sourced from seed growers both large and small around the world. Renee is going to share her rich knowledge of kitchen gardening and gardening from seed.

Gayle Engels is the Special Projects Director for the American Botanical Council, where she has worked since 1995. She coordinates the Council’s website and writes for ABC’s scientific journal, HerbalGram. She organizes educational events at ABC’s headquarters, presents herbal outreach programs, and directs the design and cultivation of the ABC demonstration gardens. Gayle has presented during previous Herb Harvest Fall Festival Events. Her topics are thoroughly researched and her delivery is captivating and palpable. Gayle Engels is returning to the Ozark Folk Center to speak about herbs of the southern Great Plains.

Doug Elliott ( can show you how to make medicine out of wild plants, how to properly harvest a persimmon and use its seed to forecast the winter. He knows plant riddles and songs about weeds and berries. For many years Elliott earned his living as a traveling herbalist collecting and selling herbs, teas and old-time remedies. Along with healing plants, Elliott searched out old-timers and elders from various cultures. From these bearers of tradition, he has assembled an extensive body of knowledge of the botanical aspects of plants, their history, legends, and lore and their uses by various cultures. His lively, informative herb and wild plant walks and plant-oriented storytelling sessions are a special feature at many herb conferences and wildflower pilgrimages; we know you will love his performances on the music and herbal stages here at the Ozark Folk Center State Park.

Susan Belsinger ( is a culinary artist, writer, photographer and gardener. She is an exceptional teacher who is in high demand throughout the nation’s herbal community. The Ozark Folk Center is honored to be named as second herbal home to this Maryland native. Susan Belsinger is honorary president (2018-2020) of the Herb Society of America, and has received numerous professional awards for her work. Her blog, /profile/cookinwithherbs will inspire you to see her in person and to taste her recipes at her demonstrations and during the Lavish Herbal Feast and the festival lunches.

Kathleen Connole, horticulturist for the Ozark Folk Center State Park, earned her degree in Plant Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She worked in Kansas City, Missouri as a gardener and plant propagator at Powell Gardens, and as a greenhouse grower and designer of container gardens at the premier garden center, Farrand Farms. The Buffalo National River inspired Kathleen and husband Jeffrey to uproot themselves and transplant to the hills of Arkansas. Soon thereafter she came to work in the Ozark Folk Center’s Heritage Herb Garden. Kathleen has been a member of the Herb Society of America Ozark Unit since its inception in 2006, and currently serves as Chairperson of the group. She is highly regarded for her research and presentation of the Herb Harvest Fall Festival’s traditional theme, “Plants Connect the Ozarks to the World”.


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