In January 2011, six individuals, with a passion for gardening, partnered with Bradley County University of Tennessee Extension Agent Kim Frady, to form a pilot committee with the goal of launching a Master Gardeners organization in Bradley County, Tennessee. On February 2nd of 2012, Mr. Mike Payne, Chairman State Advocacy Board, spoke at an organizational meeting, sharing his ideas on starting a program. Shortly thereafter, the committee, now eleven members, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Tennessee, an agreement which officially created the Bradley County Master Gardeners (BCMG) organization.
Ricky Tallent and Julie Halsey were appointed President and Secretary, respectively and organization bi-laws were adopted. A Continuing Education Committee (Mike Arnold, Steve Humberd and Jim Minor) was formed to assist in the Bradley County Master Gardener course and two community projects were chosen to support. The first was the creation of a community garden in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and the second, building raised bed gardens at the Cleveland Public Housing Authority Nutrition Center. The latter enabled the elderly to raise their own vegetables. Other highlights from 2012 included:
This year, not only will the Master Gardener Class be using a new Master Gardener Handbook reference and the Bradley County Master Gardeners held their inaugural “Spring Forward Fest” event. For a more colorful view of our history, select an image to view photos of past officers, projects, events and activities.
History of the Bradley County Master Gardeners Organization
Since that time, the Bradley County Master Gardener organization has continued to grow, attracting new members who gain valuable gardening knowledge not only through the Master Gardener course, but also though sharing’s between Master Gardeners, invited guest speakers, field trips, workshops, video conference training and participation at UT Agriculture / Master Gardener events. Graduating Interns and Master Gardeners continue to actively contribute to the local community sharing their knowledge and passion while gaining new friends and memorable experiences. Highlights from recent years include:
Junior Master Gardeners
Annual Christmas Party
Cleveland Apple Festival
Charleston Cow Pea Festival