Nestled in the South entrance of Alcorn State University (ASU) lies a new establishment which showcases the talents of the Agriculture Department named the Project Development Center.
The Center opened for business on May 10, 2018. Many items within the business have been produced by the Agriculture Department over the past 20 years but only recently, with the opening of the store, are the items being sold to consumers.
“The store allows researchers to continue to make products known as “ value added products” which is where they grow a vegetable or a fruit. In order to add value to it, they change the makeup of that product and turn it into a sauce, vegetable, fruit, or herb. This gives them an opportunity to sell those items in the store. Researchers want to work with small farmers and entrepreneurs to help them increase their marketing opportunities and the visibility of their product. Seventy-five percent of the entrepreneurial products are made by Alcorn alumni. Some items within the store are consumable products while others are products such as body butter, creams, lotions, soaps, and hair products,” stated Anthony Reed, Director of Special Projects.
The store also helps Agriculture majors experience hands-on learning. “ I have gained social experience while working in this establishment. I have networked with people who have come in who can help me get an internship,” stated Freshman Agriculture major Trenriss Smith from Greenwood, Mississippi.
In January 2019, the Product Development Center will make its products available to sell to other markets. It will mostly make sauces, jellies, and jams. The Center’s business hours are 10:00 am – 5:00 pm from Monday through Friday and its number is (601) 877-2305.