Home and Garden Information Center

Midlands Local Food

Putting knowledge to work

The Clemson Extension Home & Garden Information Center (HGIC) delivers information to the residents of South Carolina via a toll‑free telephone number (1-888-656-9988) through an interactive voice response (IVR) system and a web site.

Nearly 600 recorded messages on landscaping, gardening, plant health, household pests, food safety & preservation, and nutrition, physical activity & health are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Callers use a four-digit code published in the Home & Garden Information Center User’s Guide (EC 700) to retrieve the message they wish to hear.  If a caller does not have a copy of the User’s Guide, he/she can request one via surface mail, or find it on the Center’s web site. The guide is also available from county Extension offices.  Callers can also proceed through a menu system to access some of the messages without having access to the User’s Guide.

There are 23 telephone lines into the IVR system to listen to recorded messages. From 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Monday through Friday (except university holidays), there will be up to five more telephone lines open to Information Specialists who are available to speak with consumers to answer questions not covered by the recorded messages. 

The Information Specialists all hold either B.S., M.S., or Ph.D. degrees in horticulture, plant pathology, or food science, and receive additional training throughout the year.  An Information Assistant is also available to take orders for the nearly 600 fact sheets the Center produced that can be sent by surface mail (orders limited to five fact sheets per call). The Center also maintains a web site containing all 600 of the fact sheets in both PDF and HTML formats.

The Home & Garden Information Center is designed to complement Clemson’s network of professionals and volunteers by answering the routine types of calls and thereby free agents to deal with commercial agriculture/horticulture questions and conduct proactive programming to larger audiences.