Tennessee Residence Kitchen & Cutting Garden Wins International Excellence Award

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | 6:32am

Garden wins international Search for Excellence award for best demonstration garden

NASHVILLE – First Lady Crissy Haslam today announced the Tennessee Residence Kitchen and Cutting Garden is first place in this year’s International Master Gardener Association Search for Excellence recognition program in the category of Best Demonstration Garden. The award recognizes the garden as the highest quality teaching garden within Master Gardener programs across the United States and Canada.Mrs. Haslam made the award announcement today with nearly 50 children from Natchez Trace State Park Outdoor Classroom program participating in a student field trip to the garden. Since construction was completed in September 2013, the Kitchen and Cutting Garden has grown approximately 2,700 pounds of produce to serve in the home and more than 3,000 students and visitors have toured the garden to learn about gardening and healthy eating.

 “Bill and I are very proud that the Kitchen and Cutting Garden provides fresh produce and excellent learning opportunities for visitors,” Mrs. Haslam said. “Students can learn about the science behind gardening and garden clubs have visited to learn a variety of horticultural principles and practices.”

The Tennessee Residence garden is cared for by a team of volunteer Master Gardeners who help select, plant, and harvest the fruits and vegetables in the garden. The team uses heirloom seeds and organic fertilizers and pest controls. The newly constructed greenhouse provides a place to start unique seedlings in controlled conditions for future planting in the garden. Mrs. Haslam launched a field trip program inviting students to visit the Tennessee Residence garden and participate in hands-on activities in the garden, such as planting, harvesting, composting and weeding. Free teacher training has also been led by the Tennessee Residence Master Gardeners and representatives from the UT Agriculture Extension office to cover topics including planning and designing a garden, grant writing, seed starting, tomato diseases and ideas to incorporate gardening into classroom curriculum.

“A garden can be a terrific tool for students to learn about healthy fruits and vegetables, science, problem-solving, sustainability and the environment,” Mrs. Haslam said. “Our Tennessee Residence Master Gardeners and the UT Agriculture Extension have been an asset for our garden and they are an excellent resource for students and teachers interested in beginning a garden.”

For more information about the Tennessee Residence field trip program or the Kitchen and Cutting Garden, visit www.tn.gov/firstlady.

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First Lady Haslam