Southeast's Sikeston Campus Vegetable Demonstration Garden Provides Jobs, Fresh Food For All

Oct 1, 2019

Southeast professor Michael Aide stands in the doorway of the vegetable garden's high tunnel.

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.