First Harvest!

Today we did some work in the garden today and the plants are coming along really nicely.  We were especially surprised  by how well the radishes have done and we gathered a nice little harvest!

The Garden is Sprouting!

We planted seeds a few weeks ago and a healthy dose of rain has led to some quick growth!  My assistant Matt and I along with a student volunteer spent Friday afternoon thinning out and transferring some of the seedlings because there were so many.  At this rate we should have a pretty generous harvest by the end of the fall semester.  I will be posting some pictures this week of the plants’ progress but for now here is a little preview (or you could just stop by the raised bed in front of the Lockmiller dorms and see for yourself!).

Planting Day, Fall 2012

On September 29th we had our planting day for the University Sustainability Garden and it was a great success! A number of students came out to participate in planting a wide array of winter vegetables including carrots, onions, radishes, spinach, collard greens, and lettuce. Everyone got their hands dirty planting the seeds and some students even took a turn tilling the soil with an electric tiller! Hopefully the garden will be a source of inspiration for UTC students and prompt some students to become more involved in a greener sustainable lifestyle. Keep coming back to the blog for an update on the garden and our sustainability workshops!





Power Planting Day

On the afternoon of February 10th, Monika, Maggie, and the student growers planted the seedlings grown by Monika.  There are now an assortment of leafy, delicious plants suited for the cooler temperatures of February and early March.  Here is a list of all the delicious vegetables that we planted:

  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Fennel
  • Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli

The vegetables will be harvested near the end of the semester and stay posted for pictures of their progress!

Building the Beds!

The demonstration vegetable garden on UTC’s campus is composed of two raised beds, one of which is located in front of upper Lockmiller while the second is located behind the Stophel apartments of UTC Place.  The two beds were built with materials provided by the university, and two very enjoyable Friday afternoons were spent building them!  On January 27th, the Lockmiller bed was built first by the Monika, Maggie, and the student growers but it could not have been done without Bud Sisler from facilities and the Lockmiller maintenance men.  Constructing the bed was a lot of fun for everyone!  Here are some photos from the day, taken by UTC photographer, Jamie Davis.


The second bed near the Stophel apartments was built on the afternoon of February 3.  Like the first bed, it was a lot of fun and was even easier the second time around.  We also gained a new student grower, Spencer Connell, a friend of Robert and Anastasia.  After the bed was built, Monika and the student growers painted the bed as well.  These two beds provided the perfect foundation for our vegetable garden!











A Visit to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank!

The very first sustainability workshop on January 20th was a visit to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.   It was an incredibly informative afternoon which provided valuable insight for the campus raised bed garden.  The student growers, Monika, and Maggie were led by Jane Maudlin on a tour of the food bank and their community raised bed garden, the Evelyn Navarre Davenport Teaching Garden. It is a joint endeavor with the Hamilton County Master Gardeners and an incredible effort in sustainability and community outreach.  Composed of twenty five raised beds, a greenhouse and a 1,500 gallon cistern, it is a demonstration garden for the Chattanooga community to see and appreciate the benefits of vegetable gardens.  So far, the garden has produced more than 700 pounds of fresh produce for the Emergency Food Box clients.  As a demonstration garden, there are also a number of workshops and events available, which can be found at  This garden is a wonderful addition to the Chattanooga community and is definitely worth your time!


Meet the Student Growers!

At the end of the fall 2011 semester, five volunteer student growers were hired.  It is a great group of UTC students who are enthusiastic about not only the garden itself, but also sustainability.  They will be heavily involved in the development and maintenance of the garden and also participate in sustainability workshops.  Now without further ado, meet the student growers!

Molly Arnold: Sophomore, Psychology

Molly is in the Honors Program, is a board member for the Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation, a nonprofit working to promote bicycle advocacy, the 3-ft law, and provide financial support to injured cyclists, and was part of the S.W.E.A.T crew for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

“I really like the idea of making UTC a sustainable campus. Similarly, I’ve always wanted to learn how to garden/ grow vegetables, flowers, or really anything, but no one was ever able to teach me. I feel as though gardening is becoming a lost art (which probably explains my lack of luck in finding a teacher of the subject), and I want to be a part of reviving it in the Chattanooga area and beyond. This seems like a really great way to get students involved and offer an education that can’t typically be found on the average college campus, and I don’t want to let it pass me by!”


Sam Marks:

Sam has worked with a grassroots organization regarding urban sprawl research and am currently  interning with a renewable energy general contractor.  He is also currently enrolled in the elective ‘Green Building Rating Systems’ offered in the Construction Management Program.  He is learning a great deal about sustainable energy and hopes to become LEED Accredited.

“Although I have little experience in gardening, I possess an interest in developing and learning the skill. This unique program as it will be a wonderful opportunity for me to further my education and passion for sustainable lifestyles as well as help promote sustainability.”


Bethany Pritchard: Senior, General Biology

Bethany has internship and employment experience at the Greenway Table, a non-profit CSA program that focuses on community-based sustainability, and the importance of food education. She’s also volunteered at Williams Island Farm and at the Fortwood Greenhouse.

She’s interested in this program because  she’d like to advance her knowledge of sustainable agriculture.

“I feel it is extremely important to practice the skills of growing food and maintaining a healthy lifestyle for our community, and being able to educate those who may not have access to fresh, healthy foods on a regular basis. I enjoy gardening at home and find it extremely rewarding to eat something I grew for myself.”


Anastasia Sharp: Senior, Pre-Major

Anastasia has been a belayer at Climb Nashville and says:

“Lately though I have become extremely interested in the environment and learning about agriculture. I grew up in a household with a garden and compost but never really took advantage of the opportunity to help with the garden; although I am quite familiar with many aspects of gardening and the process of composting. The past year or so I’ve been looking for a way to start growing my own food or at least learn how since I am a vegetarian and vegetables are my main food source. I have been planning on interning at an organic farm this upcoming summer of 2012 and it would be great to go into it with some experience already under my belt.

The Sustainability Garden Program is the perfect opportunity for me to get the experience I am looking for. I already have some ideas I hope to share and would love to be selected to be part of such an awesome new project. This program is just what I am looking for at a time when I’ve really been searching for my niche. I am hoping it would help me to figure out finally what I would like to major in, gain some new experience, and be a fun venture in the process. ”


Also, meet the Plot Coordinator and the Assistant Plot Coordinator!

Monika Groppe, Sustainability Garden Coordinator, graduated from UTC in May 2011 with Humanities: International studies degree. Her desire to give back to UTC, experience as a CSA workshare at Crabtree Farms, and interest in sustainability, nutrition, and community involvement wove together in the creation of this project.


Maggie Sauser, Assistant Plot Coordinator: Junior, History

Maggie is a member of the University Honors Program and currently volunteers at the new Chattanooga History Center.  “Over the years I have become more interested in sustainability especially because my mom is an environmental science professor. Therefore, I am really excited to help lead this garden and hopefully we can make UTC a more sustainable campus.”


Getting Started

A “Living Advertisement” was displayed outside of Lupton Library from Nov15-Dec 15 to increase awareness of the program. The “Living Advertisement” installment, from made recycled lumber from campus construction displayed seedlings donated by Crabtree Farms.

During December, Maggie Sauser was hired as the Assistant Plot Coordinator from a pool of 43 applicants! Also, 8 students were selected to become the first “Student Growers” in the program. Students have interdisciplinary backgrounds and will contribute to the program enormously.

The garden is already gaining some attention and we hope
that it, and all that it encompasses, can really make an impact on
UTC and Chattanooga at large. Here are links to our current publications:

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