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MSU Garden Strives to Become Self-Sustaining

Garden co- managers Samantha Alcozer and Abby Webster spend a lot of early mornings and evenings working to grow various types of flowers and vegetables. They continue a project that was started last spring by students who used Student Government Association Sustainability funding to get the garden growing.

 “It’s so great because we are delivering produce to faculty and students here at Missouri State. Then, we are putting it back into a sustainability fund. It is just sustaining the garden and it’s a really cool process to watch it unfold,” said Webster.

Last Spring, the garden started from scratch to help the community come together and bond over local, naturally grown food. Jacob Berger was the garden manager last year. 

“Its students that make the difference, I think, to be able to get access to cheap healthy food in a way that is socially healthy for you too,” Berger said. 

Michele Day, a professor at Missouri State, frequents her local farmers market in Marshfield. She says she’s thrilled to now have a place on campus to buy fresh produce.

“I am really excited to be able to come to the garden to just enjoy the garden and also to try to get some local foods.”

This summer the garden cultivates at least 14 different kinds of flowers and vegetables, sprouting amongst 18 separate beds. The managers and volunteers use a technique known as compatibility gardening.  This technique allows plants to grow next to each other without harm. “We will have just plants growing mixed together through the garden. We will have tomatoes in every plot next to the green beans and stuff because it helps bring in beneficial insects,” said Alcozer.

This year, Alcozer and Webster have focused on buying tools for the garden, balancing the budget, and working with both the campus community and the sustainability committee to promote the garden and ensure it keeps growing well into the future.

Alcozer and Webster say they are both appreciative of Missouri State’s cooperation with the garden. The University allowed the Campus Garden to utilize some of its green space across Grand Street last spring, and the Horticulture department donated leftovers from its spring plant sale.

While the garden is sold out of produce for delivery now, Alcozer and Webster say that they hope to have a booth set up to sell produce on campus by the fall semester. They will continue to tend to their crops this summer and prepare the beds for the fall harvest.

For KSMU News I’m Shannon Bowers.