January 28, 2013 - Harrogate, Tennessee — Although the air is still chilly and winter’s biggest weather events are not yet distant memories, in the garden world, it is time to think about spring planting. Now in its fourth year of operation, The Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) Organic Gardening Project offers raised bed gardens for both adults and children and a large community garden where members plant work and share in the harvest.

Open to the community at large, there are no fees, dues or cost to participate in the garden and grow free, fresh and health produce. The garden is strictly organic and does not use chemical pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. The 2012 harvest yielded over 17,627 pounds of food, nearly double the production of the 2011 garden.

“Members are still enjoying some broccoli, greens, turnips, radishes from the fall garden,” LMU Organic Gardening Project Director Bill Clayton said. “We had 25 families participating in the project in 2012. In 2013 we hope to serve 25 or more families. Two weeks ago they had their first workday as several came out and pruned the thorn less blackberries.”

The garden consists of the raised beds and community garden and two green houses. Additionally, there are plans to construct a 40 foot high tunnel at the garden. The tunnel will allow the organization to plant tender garden crops earlier in the season and extend the growing season by 45-50 days at the end of the season. The organization plans to begin the season by growing several varieties of plants in the two green houses.

Garden members meet every Monday at 6 p.m. at the garden center, which is located on the LMU Main Campus in Harrogate, Tenn. The organization’s regular meetings consist of updates, discussion, gardening education and time for fellowship and networking. During the growing season, the organization also holds work sessions on Wednesday evenings and Saturdays, weather permitting. In addition to its weekly meetings and work sessions, the organization also hosts special educational opportunities for its members as it hosts expert classes at the Garden Center and Kitchen Class room. Upcoming classes include:
•“Cool Weather Gardening” with Kelly Frady (UT Extension) on Monday, February 4
•“Garden Planting and Maintenance” with Frady on Monday, February 18
•“High Tunnels” with Stacy White (Bell County Extension) on Monday, February 25
•“Off Season Preparation” with Frady on Monday, Marsh 4
•“Preparing Sweet Potato Plant Beds” with White on Monday, March 18

The membership is currently comprised of both beginner and experienced gardeners. Some members are involved in other agricultural enterprises including bees, meat goats, beef cattle, horses, hay, and home-school gardening. The LMU Organic Gardening Project is currently recruiting new members for the 2013 growing season. Applications are available by contacting Clayton at; or Sue Granger at or Debbie Clayton at For more information on the organization call Bill Clayton at 423.441.9133.

The LMU Organic Gardening Project is a partner site of Grow Appalachia, an outreach education and service project of Berea College. It is funded by the generosity of John Paul Dejoria, co-founder and CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems, Inc. Grow Appalachia emphasizes food production in order to introduce as much no-cost, fresh healthy food as possible to the region. The basic goal is to help as many families grow as much of their own food as possible.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at

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CAPTION: LMU Organic Gardening Project members in the new kitchen classroom pictured from left to right, Courtney Williams, Bill Clayton, Debra Dunn, Bonnie Banks, Jeanne and Dave Learman, Cody Williams and Frieda Williams.

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