Industry News


John Forti named Director of Horticulture and Education at MASS Hort

The Massachusetts Horticultural Society is excited to announce that John Forti has been named the Director of Horticulture and Education, a major step in the implementation of our 10-year strategic plan.

John will be an exceptional addition to our dedicated staff, instrumental in realizing goals for our historic landscapes, teaching gardens, the garden-to-table initiative, education programs, and the development of tourism on our property. A nationally recognized lecturer, garden historian, ethnobotanist and garden writer, Forti comes to us from the Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH, where he created numerous award-winning gardens and educational programs in the role of the Curator of Historic Landscapes. He previously served as the Director of Horticulture at Plimoth Plantation Museum, where he created a gardens and seed program that brought international attention to the preservation of Pilgrim and Wampanoag heirloom crops.

John founded and serves as the board chair for Slow Food Seacoast. He serves on the bio-diversity committee for Slow Food USA and recently represented the group as an international delegate among the 150 nations at the Terra Madre or «Farmers United Nations» in Italy. He is chair of the board for the Herb Society of America’s New England Unit, and won the 2014 Award for Excellence in Horticulture from the national office.

“I met John soon after I joined Mass Hort, and was immediately struck by his enthusiasm and passion for horticulture and this legacy institution,” said Katherine K. Macdonald, President and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. “John has a wonderful way of engaging with the public, and a clear commitment to helping people of all ages understand the natural world through our relationships with plants.”

“For the last 185 years the Massachusetts Horticultural Society has influenced our communities, and fostered a love of horticulture that has touched all of us,» John noted. “Since I was a child growing up on the North River in Norwell, MA, our regional landscapes and a passion for gardening (in large part fostered by Mass Hort) helped to shape the course and quality of my life.”

Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s legacy continues in the 21st century: improving horticulture for the public good, inspiring gardeners and horticulturalist, and providing a setting, whether in the classroom, the garden, or the exhibit hall, for the public to learn and appreciate horticulture.

“New generations of young farmers, market gardeners and artisanal producers are hungry for mentors.  Young children face even greater challenges in an age when studies show that kids know fewer than 10 animals and plants in their own backyards, but recognize over 1,000 corporate logos. But there are solutions, and I am excited to help create landscapes and programs that re-engage the generations and help them to learn from one another in the garden. I look forward to working with garden clubs, master gardeners, school administrators, and our region’s horticultural & environmental groups to build resilient communities around our horticultural heritage and our cultural inheritance of heirloom and native plants,” John commented.