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Southeast CC culinary/hospitality program receives specialty crops grant

Staff Writer
Syracuse Journal-Democrat

Southeast Community College’s Culinary/Hospitality program received a $37,463 grant to incorporate specialty-crop curriculum and awareness of Nebraska specialty crops. The grant is through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program project, which is from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

“Our student-run restaurant (Course) and coffee shop (Course Ground Coffee) also will be able to showcase some of these crops in the menu items we produce and sell, giving consumers the opportunity to taste and hopefully increase the use of these food items,” said Rob Epps, director of the Culinary/Hospitality program.

The grant also allows for students and faculty to attend local farmers markets and have a chef provide demonstrations and educational experiences on these specialty crops to the public. Epps said they hope to start that this summer.

In addition, they were able to construct a campus garden with raised planter boxes. This makes it possible for students to grow, maintain, harvest, and prepare food with the specialty crops. Twelve planter boxes on SCC’s Lincoln Campus were constructed by SCC maintenance staff and have been filled with a variety of Nebraska specialty crops.

“Hopefully it will increase awareness and knowledge to the general student population and campus visitors,” Epps added. “The hundreds of students and visitors walking by the space daily can see the growth of these crops and will have the opportunity to learn about them with signs and educational events built around the garden.”

The planters are located right outside the Course Restaurant on the east side of the main campus building. For more information on SCC’s Culinary/Hospitality program, go to https://www.southeast.edu/culinary/