Live Green at Heart: Convention Center grows its own veggies

3:27 PM, May 3, 2011   |    comments
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Employees at the Knoxville Convention Center are putting their green thumbs into practice.  They're growing their own vegetables and herbs.

It's a move to make the facility more sustainable than it already is with its solar panels and energy efficient lighting.  General Manager Mary Bogert has her sites set on gaining LEED certification.

"Part of the LEED certification is different points and processes.  One question is, 'Do you grow anything on site?'. I started thinking maybe we should, " said Bogert.

So they are and they're taking it a step further.  They're turning the "garden-to-table" concept into a competition among collegues.  The 42 employees are divided into 6 teams.

Each team has a planter. What they produce will eventually end up on the plates of convention center guests.

"They're going to be judged on team spirit, unity, crop yield and planter esthetics.  They're responsible for weeding, pruning and developing their own garden, " said Bogert.

Employee Rebecca Williams is on the Salsa Gals team. She expects the competition to heat up.

"This is a salsa garden. We have all kinds of peppers and tomatoes. We have composted horse manure as our secret ingredient, " said Williams.

Bogert says the competition allows them to use locally grown, fresh produce.  It also saves the convention center money. And when their crops yield the fruits of their labor, expect even more items added to their menu.

The competition wraps up in 90 days. We'll keep you posted.



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