The Volunteer State Community Garden is home to flowers, vegetables, fruits, bees, birds, and much more thanks to volunteers, campus gardeners and Master Gardener Joanne Brown.
Brown was a student at Vol State and graduated with a degree in general business in 2010. After completing her degree, Brown began her journey of becoming a Master Gardener through theUniversity of Tennessee Extension Service.
According to extension.tennessee.edu, UT’s main goal with this program is to increase the availability of horticultural information to improve quality of life with community garden or landscape programs.
In order to become a Master Gardener, Brown had to complete 40 hours of classes through UT Extension, as well as 40 hours of volunteer work within the community.
To remain updated on new information and practices, Brown must also complete eight hours of continued education each year.
Brown says that her personal goal as a Master Gardener is to educate the public on the best growing practices. She wants to inform the community about how to plant, maintain and keep plants thriving.
Brown also wants to keep the community updated on which plants grow best in each season and environment.
“The most fulfilling part of my job is when we have people come in and say, ‘Thank you for showing me,’ or, ‘Thank you for teaching me,’ and we were able to help someone,” said Brown.
Brown spends approximately four hours per week working hands-on in the garden and in the greenhouse. She spends an additional four hours in the garden one Saturday per month with volunteers.
Vol State students who are interested gardening may contact Brown to sign up and volunteer. Students with the Tennessee Promise Scholarship have the opportunity to volunteer in the garden for community service hours.