GTC's Sustainable Urban Agriculture Students Grow a Winning Garden

October 09, 2014

GTC's Sustainable Urban Agriculture Students Grow a Winning Garden
Blue Ribbon Harvest Grown on Campus Also Provides Produce for Culinary Students Perfecting ‘Farm to Fork' Dishes


Gwinnett Technical College's new Sustainable Urban Agriculture program is celebrating a bountiful harvest and a winning showing at the recent Gwinnett County Fair.

The program's students, led by instructor Tony Gobert, began growing their garden in the spring, experimenting with various planting techniques to minimize water use, maximize yields, attract pollinators and make full use of space.

The students "succeeded beyond their hopes," said Horticulture Program Director Aaron Poulsen, and harvested 1,500 pounds of fruits and vegetables. Next stop? The Gwinnett County Fair where Student Farm Manager Tylee Sewell entered her classes' yield in the garden exhibit. The students brought home two first place and four second place ribbons and earned many accolades from the judges for such a successful first year garden.

The fairground was not the only place the urban garden was generating buzz. "This new garden has been the talk of the campus and the surrounding community," says Poulsen. Earlier in the summer, young students from the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center on campus visited the garden to learn how the fruits and vegetables on their plate got their start.         

One of the newest and most popular programs in the Horticulture division, the Sustainable Urban Agriculture certificate program equips students with hands-on training in agricultural skills using areas like the campus greenhouse and culinary garden.

The program also works in partnership with GTC's Culinary Arts division, where aspiring chefs are also eager to learn more about growing and harvesting techniques in its farm-to-table course. The fruits and vegetables grown on campus by the horticulture students now supply the culinary students with the produce they need to for their ‘farm-to-fork' dishes. The partnership gives students from both programs the opportunity to learn valuable cross-over skills that serve a practical purpose in their future careers.

"The best thing about this program is that students are out there doing it and sharing their work with others," adds Poulsen.

The Horticulture division also includes landscape design, floral design and greenhouse management. In all, GTC offers more than 50 degree, diploma and certificate student options that can be completed in two years or less. For more information, visit or call 770-962-7580.

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