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We envision a garden where UT students, faculty, staff, and Knoxville citizens participate in hands-on learning, engage in meaningful service, conduct research, and cultivate community. The Grow Lab will demonstrate ecological food production methods, address local food insecurity, contribute to a sense of place, and encourage interdisciplinary partnerships. At the Grow Lab, half of the plots will be designated for specific academic courses, research, and university groups. Staff and volunteers will maintain the remaining plots and donate produce to hunger-alleviating causes, including the on-campus food pantry.

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First and foremost, the Grow Lab supports the mission of the University of Tennessee to embody “the spirit of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, creative activity, outreach, and engagement”. As a living laboratory, the Grow Lab provides a space to teach, do research, and engage in practical, hands-on learning. As a nexusfor community, the garden encourages outreach and engagement with the surrounding community and addresses local food insecurity.