The purpose of our blog is to showcase the research that is going on, events/workshops taking place, offer insightful links, and recap conferences we attend. However, the main focus is on the Market Garden Project.
This is the first year that we will be growing vegetables on an acre to then sell on campus. Varieties will include (hopefully) cool and warm season crops starting in April and lasting till mid-August (Date and Time TBA). Tied with this project is our internship program. We are pleased to offer students the opportunity to come learn all facets of vegetable production which include the process of planning, planting, harvesting and then selling. We hope from this experience the students will gain a true knowledge on what it does take to “go back to the land” as well as inspire them to become advocates for local/sustainable food production and maybe, just maybe make farmers out of them. As follows are our interns who represent a diverse background and concentrations.
Jess is a graduate student majoring in Extension Education in the department of Agriculture Leadership, Education and Communication. Her studies focus on environmental sustainability programs geared towards small communities within the U.S. and in South America. Jess earned her BA in Geography this past December from UTK. She is looking forward to gaining more experience in farming to help in her goal of growing 70% of her family’s yearly vegetables and also to spread the practice of gardening and small scale farming to other families to aid in their economic sustainability. Jess’s interests outside of school and gardening include hiking, backpacking, flat-water kayaking, crafting and belaying her rock climbing husband.
My name is Kelly Corum. I am originally from Knoxville and have lived my whole life here. I am a sophomore majoring in Plant Science with a concentration on Landscape Design and Construction. I wouldn’t mind doing Design for a living, but my dream is to farm, which has led me to the intership. My goal is to simply learn how to do it and then go from there. I enjoy being outside doing pretty much anything and riding my bicycle. I am looking forward to gaining knowledge on the farm and using it now and later in life.
Philip is 22, a Junior, majoring in Food and Agriculture Business at UT.
I have always enjoyed working with food. My parents grew awesome produce in a small garden in our backyard. From an early age I could tell the difference between fresh foods and store bought. At 6 years I baked my first cake. I was always helping or experimenting in the kitchen as a child. Throughout my adult life I have consistently worked in restaurants. I enjoyed cooking so much I thought I would become a Chef. However, low pay and long hours caused me to rethink that decision. I am now pursing my dream to become a food or restaurant manager and some day own a restaurant. I came to the organic farm because I wanted to learn everything I can about the process of getting food from the farm to the table. Organics make sense to me because they don’t harm the environment or my own body. I plan to encourage ecological business initiatives throughout my career. With this hope, we can preserve our planet for future generations, while at the same time, profit from its resources.
Daniel Priddy is a Sophomore at UT in Environmental Studies. His friends call him Daniel. Daniel is very enthusiastic about joining the team of interns for the season. He enjoys farming, rock climbing, dancing, and the Talking Heads. Daniel takes immense joy in agriculture and food in general. Historians would remember him as a pretty average guy.
Mechelle is a junior in Sociology with a concentration in environmental issues and globalization. She’s also attempting to get a minor in French.
With the UT organic farm internship, she plans to gain knowledge about sustainable food production and local markets in hopes of helping others to have a more sustainable way of living in the future. Her main goal with the Sociology major is to have a better understanding of people and their points of view, because collaboration is the only way to solve environmental issues. She’s looking forward to growing some food, meeting new people, and learning much more!
Mary grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where as a young child she spent summers at her grandparent’s hobby farm. Her first job was selling sweet corn from this garden door to door to neighbors. Her interest in horticulture led her to jobs working at wholesale greenhouses in high school, where she took care of seasonal flowers and bedding plants. She left Sioux Falls to earn her degree at the University of Minnesota in 1998, where she studied horticulture with an emphasis in sustainable agriculture. Mary worked as a landscape gardener, organic vegetable gardener and WWOOFer in Italy before returning to the U of MN for her master’s degree in entomology. Arriving in Tennessee in 2008, Mary is coordinating a variety of research projects at the Organic Crops Unit of the University of Tennessee, working on a PhD, and supervising the market garden project.
Mary’s research interests include entomology and horticulture in general, specifically insect-plant interactions, biological control and sustainable vegetable production. Her thesis is on organic management of cucumber beetles in Tennessee. Mary lives in North Knoxville with her husband, Matt and two cats.
In her spare time, Mary enjoys camping in the GSMNP, working on her lasagna garden at home, cooking, reading (both fiction and non-fiction), listening to music, doing crossword puzzles, playing Scrabble and cribbage, learning about local Knoxville history and dreaming of foreign lands.
Grant McCarty is the intern coordinator for the Market Garden Project. Hailing from Kodak, Tennessee, he received his BA in Sociology from Maryville College in 2008, and through an internship at an eco-village in Corvallis, Montana, found his passion and vocation in sustainable agriculture. After a year as a Research Assistant in UT’s Biofuels Intiative, he came to the program in Aug 2009 and has been blessed since then. His long term goal includes Extension Work/Research. He is currently taking Plant Science classes and deciding on grad programs.
His interests include spinach, being outside as much as possible, pretentious movies/books, his truck, running/working out, going downtown/concerts, and traveling.
These are who you will be mostly hearing from during the next couple of months although we may sneak in other things here and there. But we invite you to follow our progress, become our fan on Facebook, attend our workshops, hound our website (organics.utk.edu), ask us questions, and come to our market (most importantly).
Intern Coordinator, 2010