June 20, 2024

Big Orange Orchard to provide accessible fruit, veggie gardens

The University of Tennessee student senate has recently approved the Big Orange Orchard Resolution. Neil Brown, a current senior in chemical engineering, and UT alumnus Chris Weller are working together to implement a series of permaculture, edible forest gardens on campus.

“I envision a UT where students can pick fresh, naturally grown fruits and nuts on their way to class,” Brown said. ” Such a UT would be happier, healthier, more beautiful and more sustainable.”

Brown and Weller saw a need for the Big Orange Orchard so there will be something larger and more accessible on campus that can provide fresh food to students, faculty, staff and campus visitors.

The Big Orange Orchard seeks to turn UT into the first edible campus in the SEC, a campus where students are able to snack on organically grown food on their way to class. There are four proposed garden sites so far, with two on campus and two off campus.

If all goes accordingly, the Big Orange Orchard will be planted this coming fall, and depending on a few conditions, students could be picking their own fresh fruit on campus within one to four years.

Brown is the president and co-founder of Project V.E.G.G.I.E., a student organization in charge of UT’s first ever main campus community garden. Weller is also very active in Project V.E.G.G.I.E., and they both have been able to demonstrate the need for sustainable living through the organization.

Edited by Maggie Jones