Compiled by Leah Barbour
Extension Supports University's Community Garden
At Mississippi State University, more than 50 students, faculty, and staff make up the first group of gardeners growing fruits and vegetables at MSU’s community garden, funded by the MSU Extension Service.
The garden, located off Stone Boulevard on the MSU campus, is adjacent to the EPA rain garden at the landscape architecture complex and features 19 large raised planters and eight accessible planters. Compost is generated from campus dining halls and landscape refuse, and rain water is collected for irrigation. Finally, two beds have autonomous farming robots, or “farmbots,” that can be operated from a computer or phone.
MSU President Mark E. Keenum, at the October 2018 ribbon-cutting, revealed that a waiting list for students who want to garden has already been created. He emphasized the importance of young adults’ learning about gardening, planting, and harvesting. As the global population continues to grow, local community gardens are part of the solution to the fight against hunger.
Extension Appoints New 4-H Staff
Even as the Mississippi 4-H youth development program continues adding new members, the MSU Extension administrative team supporting the statewide program is adding experienced employees to ensure 4-H stays fresh and relevant among local young people.
Cobie Rutherford, an Extension instructor, and Debra Lloyd, an Extension associate, have joined the 4-H administrative office in Starkville. Rutherford was formerly employed with the MSU Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, while Lloyd comes from the MSU Center for Continuing Education.
Rutherford and Lloyd will coordinate all state 4-H youth development events, including the 4-H State Council Officers and Ambassadors programs, 4-H Record Book program, state and national 4-H Congress, and more. Along with training new volunteers and county Extension staff, they will work with Extension specialists to develop new 4-H programs and curricula to advance the Extension Plan of Work.
Extension Landscape Symposium Honors Professor Emeritus
In 1957, Edward C. Martin Jr. began what became the Edward C. Martin Jr. Landscape Design Symposium, held on the Mississippi State University campus. According to MSU Extension Service leaders, Martin was a legendary professor who taught at MSU for 45 years, published two books, and created many of the most beautiful green spaces on MSU’s Starkville campus.
Extension leaders recognized Martin, who died in 2018, at the October installment of the Edward C. Martin Jr. Landscape Design Symposium. The professor emeritus was honored with a special tree-planting ceremony at the landscape architecture facility. His years of work to extend knowledge and change lives by developing residential and community landscapes reflect Martin’s dedication to the Extension mission.
Extension's Southern Gardener Opens Little Free Garden
One of the Mississippi State University Extension Service’s most famous faces, Dr. Gary Bachman, host of long-running TV and web series Southern Gardening, recently opened Mississippi’s first-ever Little Free Garden at his home in Coastal Mississippi. The 2- by 4-foot bed has grown herbs and radishes, including Cincinnati Market, a variety Bachman believes is the lost heirloom variety Long Beach Red radish.
Little Free Gardens (http://www.littlefreegarden.com) are organized similarly to Little Free Libraries, although the two are not affiliated. People are encouraged to plant something, give something, take something, or leave something.
Bachman, also an Extension and research professor at the MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, hopes the Little Free Garden will encourage people to grow and share fresh herbs and vegetables with family and neighbors. He wants to see other Little Free Gardens pop up around the state.
Bachman’s Little Free Garden is number 146. You can follow the garden’s progress on its Facebook page: Little Free Garden at Heritage Cottage.