The Southeast Sikeston Campus has teamed up with Lincoln University to increase the amount of jobs and fresh produce consumption in the Bootheel region with a student-led vegetable demonstration garden that opened in May.
Looking at what will grow better and handle adversity under Missouri weather, students in the program plant, harvest, and research a variety of seeds from places like Asia, Africa and Europe.
Agriculture professor Michael Aide said the Bootheel has areas the department considers a "food desert." In other words: there's not always places where you can buy healthy, fresh vegetables and other food products.
"We're encouraging small acreage farmers or landowners to start producing their own vegetables to promote a healthy diet," said Aide. "If you grow quality vegetables and prepare them appropriately, and as you learn to construct a proper diet, the obesity issue will go away."
This program consists of agriculture students who study seeds and harvesting in the demonstration garden as part of their curriculum.