Skip to main content

Innovation, compassion at Dixon Springs ag center fuel food access

Young 4-H members show their fresh produce

URBANA, Ill. – People in and around Pope County need access to free and for-sale fresh produce like never before.

High tunnels allow Dixon Springs Agricultural Center (DSAC) to grow fruits and vegetables for its neighbors all year. Essentially unheated greenhouses, high tunnels produce crops more bountiful than those at the mercy of the weather. The protected growing environment also greatly reduces chemical use to deal with weeds and pests.

For nearly 90 years, DSAC has welcomed farmers, students, and other community members to its 5,100-acre site. Run by Illinois Extension, a unit of College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), the southern Illinois gem in Shawnee National Forest is the largest experiment station of its kind east of the Mississippi River. In addition to conducting agriculture, livestock, and forestry research, DSAC hosts a wide variety of community and educational events – such as backyard maple syrup production courses, gardening classes for children, and beginning landowner programs – with in-person and virtual attendance topping 7,400 in 2022.

Read the full release from University of Illinois System News. 

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.