The Lincoln Memorial University Community Organic Garden in Harrogate will open the spring growing season later this month with a “Meet and Greet” session for new members at 6 p.m. on Feb. 20. The garden is taking a limited number of applications for garden plots in 2017.
Open to adults and children, the organization offers individual raised bed gardens and a large community garden where members plant, work and share in the harvest at no cost. The Garden is 100 percent organic and does not utilize chemical pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. Garden members meet every Monday at the garden center for updates and discussion, gardening education and informal time for fellowship and networking. Additionally, members are encouraged to attend to their beds as needed and assist on Wednesday work sessions when weather permits.
Through Nov. 30, 2016, the Garden produced over 21,000 pounds of food. Members continue to enjoy broccoli, greens, turnips and radishes from the fall garden. In 2016, 48 families participated in the program, growing organic produce and attending educational programs. Membership includes a mix of novice and experienced gardeners.
In addition to the raised beds and community garden, the organization grows several varieties of plants in two green houses and utilizes a 240 foot high tunnel. The tunnel allows garden members to plant tender garden crops earlier in the season and extends the harvesting season by nearly 50 days at the end of the growing season.
The LMU Organic Garden facilities are located on the south side of campus down the boulevard from LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine near the roundabout. Meetings are held in the classroom/kitchen facility on the grounds. Classes are led by gardening experts, extension agents from the University of Kentucky and University of Tennessee and area leaders. Upcoming classes will cover topics such as pruning fruit trees, garden planning, edible and medicinal plants, sweet potato slips and heart healthy cooking from the garden.
The mission of the LMU Organic Community Garden is to offer a place to learn about gardening, healthy eating and preparation and preservation of food in healthy ways. Initiated by the LMU Board of Trustees, the organization is self-governed by its members and is supported by grants and funds from Grow Appalachia and other foundations. Funded by the generosity of John Paul Dejoria, co-founder and CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems, Inc., Grow Appalachia is an outreach education and service project of Berea College. For more information about the LMU Organic Community Garden contact Bill Clayton ([email protected]) at 423-441-9133.