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The Grow Lab

The Grow Lab is a campus garden that serves as a living laboratory to promote experiential and service–based learning opportunities. The Grow Lab demonstrates ecological food production methods and encourages community engagement.

Our Vision and Mission


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.


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 nexus for community, the garden encourages outreach and engagement with the surrounding community and addresses local food insecurity.

Where is the Grow Lab?

The Grow Lab is located at 2019 Terrace Avenue (between 21st Street and Montcastle Street). Check us out on Facebook, look at our calendar of events, or email us to schedule a time to visit.

Get Involved!


For the Fall 2023 semester, we will be holding volunteer shifts from 3pm-5pm every Thursday starting on 8/31. Volunteers will receive a brief tour of the garden and be able to assist with a wide range of activities, including seeding, harvesting, pruning, tending to crops, etc. Volunteering with the Grow Lab is a great way to grow your knowledge about food production and to connect with where your food comes from!

No green thumb required, but we DO require volunteers to wear closed toes shoes and to bring their own water bottle for safety purposes. We also ask that volunteers wear attire that is weather-appropriate and that they do not mind getting dirty.

Sign up here for our first volunteer day on Thursday 8/31!

Host a Workshop

We foster a variety of learning opportunities at the Grow Lab and always welcome workshops! If you are interested in hosting a workshop OR have a suggestion on a workshop you would like to see in the future, reach out to Samantha Daulton, Grow Lab Coordinator at UTK’s Office of Sustainability, by emailing

Reserve a Course Plot

Do you teach a course or oversee research related to food production, food security, community health, or something else related to what we do at the Grow Lab? Are you a campus organization, office, or department? Are you interested in reserving one of our plots for the fall, spring, or summer terms? Reach out to Samantha Daulton, Grow Lab Coordinator at UTK’s Office of Sustainability, by emailing for more information!

Student Projects

We celebrate student work here at the Grow Lab! We have had a diverse group of students representing a variety of disciplines using the garden as a backdrop to their experiential learning. We invite you to check out this amazing work and to get in touch with us if you have ideas for the future!

Landscape Architecture

PLSC 350: Basic Landscape Construction, Fall 2018