Beginning Monday, Feb. 22, University of Tennessee Extension will begin offering the “SproUTing Growers Workshop Series,” for those who want to grow fruits and vegetables for retail sale.

The six-month course is free of charge and is intended to provide potential and beginning growers with the skills they need to plan and manage a vegetable and small fruit farming venture, including marketing their produce.

These half-day workshops are planned from 1-4 p.m. EST on the final Monday of the month throughout the spring and summer. Workshops will be hands-on, and most will take place either on the UT Institute of Agriculture campus on Neyland Drive or at the UT Organic Crops Unit off John Sevier Highway.

The first workshop, “Business Planning,” is scheduled for Feb. 22 on the agriculture campus and will be led by UT Extension Farm Specialist Alice Rhea. It will help participants think about defining their business, including products they will offer, location, legal structure, operation procedures, personnel, accounting, and insurance, as well as help them decipher financial data. Participants should plan to meet at the South Greenhouse Classroom (room 124), UT agriculture campus.

Participants must pre-register to ensure that arrangements can be made in advance for parking. To register, please contact Mary Rogers at 865-974-0710 or mroger30@utk.edu.

For a detailed schedule and more information and directions, visit the Web site: http://organics.tennessee.edu/sprouting_growers_workshops.htm or follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/UTOrganicSustainableCropProductionUnit. The program is possible due to the support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.