By Felicia Farnsworth

On Thursday, August 26, 2021, the Tuskegee University Cooperative Extension Program and Extension Agent Jeffery L. Moore hosted a Grassroots meeting via Zoom.

The purpose of the meeting was to allow the County Advisory Council to have an opportunity to provide program suggestions and input for the planning and implementation of the numerous county programs for Bullock and Barbour Counties for the year 2021-2022.

The County Advisory Council consists of clients from both counties, several Bullock County Commissioners, and other Bullock and Barbour County participants.

A special bonus to the meeting was a series of videos featuring some of the area's newest local farmers and agricultural professionals. Moore not only mentored but was the overseer of several local gardens, including the SNAP-ED School Gardens.

Eldrick Davis, a Junior at Bullock County High School, participated in the Summer Student Internship and learned what chemicals to use on the gardens to help them grow and keep pests away. He knew how to use Sevens Dust and Marathon, as well as Integrated Pest Management.

Moore mentored and guided Ms. Imagene Sparks, a 68-Year-old Bullock County resident, who planted and irrigated her garden herself but had help putting up a part of her fence as well as the irrigation. Sparks used a drip irrigation system that allows the water to go directly to the root system.

This method is used so that the water will go directly to the plant and not be evaporated. Spark's garden harvest was impressive.

In June 2021, she harvested 15 lbs. of cucumber, 15 lbs. of squash, 6 lbs. of okra, 4 lbs. of green pepper, and 3 lbs. of hot pepper. Her July 2021 harvest yielded 8 lbs. of collards, 3 lbs. of okra, 5 lbs. of squash, 2 lbs. of hot peppers, 2 lbs. of cucumbers, and 5 lbs. of green peppers.

"This is my first garden, and I thank the Lord for how it grew. I originally didn't think it was big enough, so I added some peas to it," stated Sparks. Tommy Harris was also in the video. He talked about his process of growing vegetables.

He had a good garden growing until wild hogs uprooted all of his hard work. Harris had to move his garden to the other side of the street and rebuild it to keep the hogs from destroying his new crops.

Just before the end of the meeting, several of the participants had humbling remarks for Mr. Moore. "Tuskegee University, Thank you for your support and for having Mr. Moore to help our community. We couldn't ask for anything better," praised William Hodge.

Margaret Jernigan had this to say, "Thank you for all you do. We're in our third year. You are a priceless jewel, and we thank you." "Thank you for all your hard work, and I'll be with you for another twenty years,' stated Domingues Hurry. Mr. Moore was humbled and said, "Thank you all. Eventually, everyone is going to go back to growing their food or learning how to grow it, and I'll be here to help."

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