MSU student plans to establish urban gardens in major cities

Kenneth Matthews is a senior in Horticulture where he pursues his passion for plants.

Kenneth Matthews is majoring in Horticulture with a concentration in Sustainable and Organic Horticulture.

Why did you choose Horticulture as your major/degree?

Majoring in Horticulture has allowed me to explore my passion for plants, whether they be ornamentals or food producing. Beyond my passion, I saw how I could make an impact in society with the tools given through my degree in Horticulture.

What has been the best experience in your major so far?

Being hands on in the classrooms via lab has been amazing. Many of the classes have hands on aspects. One of my favorite memories was in Dr. Brad Rowe’s plant propagation lab when students were given the chance to propagate any plants of their choosing. Experiences such as these are vital because they allow students to physically engage and make use of lecture material.

What is the best selling point about your major that you would like others to know?

MSU’s Horticulture Department prepares its students for success in their fields of study. When I interned on a farm, the owner was always surprised by how much I knew about different topics related to plants, greenhouses, irrigation, and environmental sustainability.

Overall, I would tell anyone who is interested in Horticulture to explore the major, maybe even take the HRT 203 introductory course. I did and do not regret it!

What are your future plans?

Long term, I plan to establish urban gardens in major cities both edible and ornamental gardens. I would like to use these gardens to feed surrounding communities, educate, improve environmental sustainability and provide a safe interactive space for troubled or disadvantaged youth.

Along with growing food, I would like to get involved with policies that could change the way food products are made and where they are made available. Unhealthy processed foods are common in low-income communities. Therefore, members of these communities fall victim to diet-related health complications. Unless change is made, the heath disparities low-income families face will perpetually continue in the coming generations.

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