Build It Up

Grow With Us


Build It Up provides organic gardening education from seed to harvest. Learn how to grow, prepare, and preserve food from your own backyard!



Our Programs

Since 2012, Build It Up has offered gardening education and installed over 200 new gardens in East Tennessee. We offer support to backyard gardeners, market gardeners, and school and community gardens.

Learn more about each service by clicking the links below.

Backyard Gardeners Program

We guide 30-40 families through a year of organic gardening education and support. Families receive plants, seeds, tools, fertilizer, and more to help grow healthy, fresh food right in their own backyards.

Market Gardeners Program

We foster entrepreneurship through agriculture and support market gardeners up to a half-acre in size. The MGP is on hiatus due to Covid-19, but we hope to relaunch soon!

Individual Consulting

Our gardening experts would love to help you design a backyard, community, or school garden! We also consult on food forests, perennial fruit and nut trees, and native edible plants.

Over 200 Families Served

Wish your kids knew where their food comes from? Gardening provides so many opportunities for kids (and adults!) to learn about food, nature, and the joy of dirt under your fingernails. Learn more about our Backyard Gardening Program:

Grow Organically

We teach how to grow organically and in harmony with our ecosystem. Our workshops focus on gardening in ways that prevent and disease issues naturally without relying on chemical fertilizers or sprays.

Pounds of Food Grown




"I truly believe that growing your own food is an activity that makes us more human. Working the land and facilitating the growth process connects us with nature in a way that is deep, elemental, and soulful."


– Matthew M., 2nd Year Gardener

"Last year I grew my first-ever lush year-round garden, and whilst I did experience a few frustrating moments, overall it was one of the biggest and best accomplishments of my life."


– Louise B., 2nd Year Gardener

"The knowledge that I have gained from Build It Up... has allowed us more success in the last two years than I had imagined possible."


– Emily P., 2nd Year Gardener

"In consideration of all the times in my life that something has been too good to be true: Build It Up somehow exceeded all of my expectations."


– Jenna U., 1st Year Gardener

Latest from the blog:

We feature stories from our Build It Up participants as well as guides for when to be doing what in your garden like succession planting recommendations, seed starting, and more.

Gardener Story: Jaime Jones

Gardener Story: Jaime Jones

      This is our second year in the build it up program, and we are grateful for the experience. This program has given me a reason to get into the garden every day, even on the days I don't feel like it. Some days I don’t do much but water and watch. The birds and...

Gardener Story: Audra Holmes

Gardener Story: Audra Holmes

We are now part way through our second year of the Build It Up Backyard Gardeners Program. What does the second year mean for us?  Confidence.  Confidence that we can grow food for our family. Confidence that we can tend a garden. Confidence that we can cook and eat...

Gardener Story: Kitty Michael

Gardener Story: Kitty Michael

I have been knocking my head against a wall to think of something to say. I am Kitty, a second year BIU participant. I am, like many of you, still feeling very uncertain of myself even as a second year gardener. Am I doing this right? Did I pay enough attention in the...

Special Thanks

Build It Up is made possible thanks to a grant from the Truist Foundation, whose purpose is to inspire and build better lives and communities. More info about the Truist Foundation can be found here

Build It Up is one of 21 Grow Appalachia partner sites. Click below to learn more about Grow Appalachia and our sister programs.

Become a Gardener or Donate Today!