UT schedules second organic crops field tour
Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 8:02 pm
Building on the success of last year’s first-ever event, the University of Tennessee East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Knoxville has scheduled its second Organic Crops Field Tour for Thursday beginning at 8:30 a.m. EDT. A trade show will open at 7:30 a.m.
The event is free and should be of interest to home gardeners as well as commercial growers interested in the production of organically-grown fruits and vegetables. Organic fruits and vegetables are gaining in popularity with consumers and have the potential to increase the profits of local producers by reducing the use of off-farm inputs and by filling a niche in a rapidly growing market.
The 90-acre Organic Crops Unit is dedicated to organic crop research, and tours and talks at the facility during the field day will highlight current research projects and discuss organic crop production techniques. Topics to be presented include producing berries organically, natural disease control, utilizing cover crops and composting. Commercial producers may be especially interested in the talks about extending the production season with high tunnels and crop marketing techniques.
The day’s activities will include a sponsored lunch and feature presentation “Plants You Didn’t Know You Could Eat,” which will be presented by Jeff Ross, Garden Manager of Blackberry Farm in Walland. The lunch will be sponsored in part by Knoxville’s two Earth Fare stores. Earth Fare, the “Healthy Supermarket,” is one of the largest natural grocers in the Southeast. Following lunch, visitors may participate in either a walking tour of the facility or an equipment demonstration, weather permitting.
The UT AgResearch Organic Crops Unit is located at 7315 Government Farm Road in Knoxville. The facility is approximately seven miles south of the UT Agricultural Campus and downtown Knoxville. Visitors should follow U.S. Highway 129 and take the exit for Highway 168 (John Sevier Highway). Government Farm Road will be 1.7 miles on the right. If approaching on John Sevier Highway from U.S. Highway 441 (Chapman Hwy), Government Farm Road will be five miles on the left.
UT AgResearch, in cooperation with UT Extension and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, launched the organic agriculture initiative to involve more Tennessee farmers in organic production for the purpose of increasing farm income. For additional information visit the Web site: http://organics.tennessee.edu/
The East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center is one of 10 outdoor laboratories operated by UT AgResearch, a division of the UT Institute of Agriculture. In addition to its agricultural research programs, the Institute of Agriculture also provides instruction and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.
The Organic Crops Field Tour is the first of many such open houses scheduled this year at UT AgResearch facilities across the state. For more information about UT field days and special events, contact the local county Extension office, UT AgResearch or visit the Web site at http://agriculture.tennessee.edu/news/FieldDays.
Published in The Messenger 4.27.10