SEEED: Engagement w/ the Community

SEEED: Engagement w/the Community

Written by Taria Person
Posted by Treasure Hightower

Welcome to SEEED’s Weekly Voice! This week we will highlight the Work Day: Cleanup and Alumni Homecoming, which are just a couple of events happening at SEEED this week.




Yesterday, August 16th, 2017, SEEED hosted a Work Day: Cleanup, from 1-4pm. Many volunteers from the University of Tennessee- Knoxville, Appalachian Voices, and Knoxville Utilities Board assisted with cleaning the grounds, and contributed to the maintenance of SEEED’s edible forest. I asked volunteers what it meant for them to contribute to the community, and to be of service at events like the Work Day: Cleanup. See the video below to hear what they had to say!



At SEEED, it is apart of our mission “to create pathways out of poverty” and “equip communities with environmental literacy skills.” It was a wonderful experience to witness a group of people working to make sure that Knoxville sustains its beauty, and that SEEED’s mission is fulfilled. There is plenty of room and enough tools and tasks to share, so feel free to come volunteer, anytime. It takes a village to raise a community garden, so we hope to see you there. 


Tonight, August 17th, 2017 from 6:00-8:00pm,  SEEED is having its first Alumni Homecoming, which celebrates the graduates from previous Career Readiness Programs. This event will be full of food, door prizes, games, and a lot of fun! Many graduates will be accompanied by guests who may be interested in SEEED’s pilot Energy Corps Program; however, anyone that is interested in the pilot program or in the work that SEEED is doing, we would love to have you there.  


SEEED’s Energy Corps Program—a program that will teach life skills, career skills, construction trades, and energy services, such as weatherization and solar—begins on September 12th from 1-6pm. SEEED is still accepting applications for the Energy Corps Program, so if you know anyone between the ages of 18-28 that would be interested in this opportunity, have the person apply via FB or at SEEED. Thank you so much  for reading SEEED’s Weekly Voice. Don’t forget to like, comment, and share. Until next time, keep growing!



Grow Your Garden Workshop: Veggie Garden Maintenance

Written by Taria Person


Welcome to SEEED’s Weekly Voice! This week we will highlight the Grow your Garden Workshop Series, presented by the Center for Urban Agriculture. The event was held yesterday at the Morningside Community Center (SEEED) and facilitated by Amanda Spangler, Center for Urban Agriculture Manager at Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum.

Before the workshop, I was able to ask Amanda about the event, the partnership with SEEED, and to get more insight about the workshop in general.

“It’s an honor to be here! I enjoy promoting the awesome work that SEEED is doing. Most times, I come with more information than needed for the workshops, just incase there’s a topic that people are more interested in,” Spangler expressed. “It’s not realistic for everyone to come to us [Knoxville Botanical Garden], so it’s great to let people know that you all are a resource in the neighborhood. Also, these events are great because the proceeds go towards SEEED’s gardening program!”

Below, we will share a few tips from Spangler’s “Veggie Garden Maintenance” presentation.

1. “Wicked Weeds”

The first question was, “What’s a weed?” Soon we all found out that It’s pretty much an out of place plant. In the garden, weeds compete with other plants for things like water, space, and nutrients. Weeds are not aesthetic in gardens, and become a great place to host pests!

Ways to prevent weeds:
-Remove weeds before planting;
-Mulch suppresses wicked weeds;
-Don’t water the entire plant or bed! Only water the rooted area.

*Wood chips, sawdust, and recycled leaves make great mulch!

2. “Critter Control”
There are three methods regarding critter control: Mechanical, chemical, and cultural.

  • -Mechanical: fencing, scare tape, and netting;
  • -Chemical: soap and pepper sprays, predator’s urine;
    -Cultural: crop rotation, avoid monoculture, and less appetizing selections.

Make sure you research methods that would work best for your area. For instance, if you live where there are a lot of rabbits, fencing would be great; however, fencing may not be as effective for deer.

*For soap and pepper spray, use non-concentrated soap. Occasionally, change the recipe of your spray (cayenne pepper to habanero pepper) so pest don’t become immune.

3. “Plant Disease”
Diseased plants can occur for various reasons, but there are many methods of prevention. One way is to build and maintain a healthy ecosystem in your garden.

-sufficient amounts of water to reduce/avoid stress;
-if possible, water before 10 am;
-remove old plant debris from around.

And experiment in your gardens!

*Did you know that stressed plants send messages to pest, to let them know that they are available, versus healthy plants?

Thank you for reading this week’s blog. Don’t forget to like, comment, and share! If you missed last nights event, no worries, there are more to come. The next Grow your Garden workshop: Fall Fruits and Veggies is on September 13, 2017 at 5:30pm. Come join us! Until next time, keep growing!

SEEED: Growing the Garden through Community Engagement

Written by Taria Person


Welcome to SEEED’s Weekly Voice! For this week’s blog, I have interviewed Lauren Kataja, SEEED’s Community Garden Coordinator. The interview will highlight some of the gardening events that SEEED has hosted this year regarding healthy eating and gardening.


(Interview with Lauren Kataja)

Me: Okay, Lauren. Explain what the responsibilities are of a Community Garden Coordinator?


Lauren: Well, our main focus is to build a connection with the community through the garden. Raise awareness and build connections, so that people come to get local food. Half of it is growing food, and the other half is growing community.


Me: What events has SEEED hosted to engage the community in the garden?


Lauren: We’ve hosted two “People in the Garden Healthy Food Fairs.” We were able to provide plant-based food, information about plant-based diets, and for the one in the spring, we gave out plants and seeds.


Also, we’ve hosted the “Grow your Garden Series”; there have been two events, already. We were able to inform people about the difference between fall plants and summer plants. The next one is July 26th, where we will have a “weeding day”. Summer time is a great time for weeds to grow in the garden. We’ll be informing people about how to get rid of weeds in the gardens.


We’ve made connections with the District Attorney and Bank of America. We partnered with Knoxville’s Permaculture Guild, which has been a great way for volunteers to know what’s going on. And we were donated fruit trees!


Me: What is one of the biggest takeaways that you’ve experienced from being in your role?


Lauren: The general interest in learning is great. At one event, we setup stations with grains, nuts, and beans. Children were confident in their responses about what each food item was before them, and their parents were asking them how they knew. One child responded, “That’s couscous. I saw it at the store!”


There was a composting system. A guy pulled a worm out of fertilizer, and people were grossed out. By the end of it, they put it all to the side, so it was fun and interactive!


Thank you for Reading SEEED’s Weekly Voice. Please note that SEEED’s edible forest is a community garden, so come enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, learn about growing your own food, and learn more about SEEED.


Please share, comment, and like the post. Until next time…keep growing!