Growing in Illinois State University’s Horticulture Center’s vegetable garden—a living canvas of leafy greens and vibrant heirloom tomatoes—a slender, fingerlike purple pepper caught Jalen Cunningham’s artistic eye.

“What’s that one?” Cunningham asked Horticulture Center Director Jessica Chambers ’93.

sweatshirt with colorful vegetable design
Jalen Cunningham’s vegetable garden design.

“It’s a buena mulata pepper,” Chambers