Thursday, August 25, 2016

Educational Opportunities: Certificates and Workshops

We've got a number of evening and weekend educational opportunities coming up in Fall 2016. Why not register for one (or more)?

Creating Change Makers
Change is challenging. Those drawn to this program will draw on their own personal history as a source of their capacity to achieve their aims. The program therefore will begin with a self-inquiry - a "radical inquiry" - that will involve autobiographical self-exploration first into the gifts and capacities that students bring to this work; and second, into their personal passions and goals. That foundational work will be followed by an introduction to core competencies, which will be both generic and specific. Among the generic skills will be the following: team-building, working with and valuing diversity, using sound and current data, seeking and using feedback, re-framing for success, forgoing strong agreements, applying whole systems thinking, and building win-win agreements.  Specific competencies will include open space group facilitation, grant-writing, project budgeting and creating a business plan. Some of these skills will be covered in the course, while others will be introduced through field-building practicums.  Course fee: $60. October 18 - November 3, 2016. Register here.

Center for Urban Agriculture and Gardening Education


Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate Program: Choose between two options consisting of three classes each or select an individual course. Option 1: Urban Agriculture Techniques, includes Principles of Sustainable Agriculture, High Efficiency Production Methods for Urban Growers and Urban Agriculture Innovations. Option 2: Business Principles in Urban Agriculture, includes Principles of Sustainable Agriculture, Urban Agriculture Site Planning and Design and Business Principles of Sustainable Agriculture. September 8 – October 1. Register here.

Introduction to Biointensive Urban Agriculture: This program is intended for beginning and intermediate urban gardeners. Each class will focus on a particular food production subject such as intensive crop production, seedling production, compost, crop extension and other principles. Gain the skills needed to maintain an organic garden and gain ideas to jump start urban agriculture. Urban Ag 101: Intro to Intensive Crop Production. Urban Ag 102: Planting and Crop Production. Urban Ag 103: Soil Preparation, Improvement and Nutrient Cycling. Urban Ag 104: Pest, Disease and Weed Management. Urban Ag 105: Intensive Vegetable Harvesting. Urban Ag 106: Season Extension of Food Crops. FREE. Multiple dates through October. Register here.

Center for Sustainable Development


Introduction to Green Infrastructure & Low Impact Development: Low Impact Development (LID) is typically defined as a stormwater management design framework aimed at minimizing the negative impacts of stormwater runoff. This two-day introductory course addresses LID in the contexts of design, planning, implementation, and maintenance and is designed for planners, engineers, landscape architects, realtors, surveyors, local governments, and anyone else interested in environmentally friendly, cost-efficient development. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to engage in intellectual discussions involving LID, apply principles learned in design and review scenarios, and identify intricate components of an LID, coupled with how each component functions and contributes to the overall system. Course Fee: $300. September 13-14. Register here.

Aquaponics Technician CertificationAquaponics refers to a food production method that combines the fields of aquaculture (fish production) and hydroponics (growing vegetables in water). Aquaculture is defined as raising aquatic organisms such as crayfish, fish or prawns; Hydroponics is defined as growing plants in nutrient rich water without soil. The waste created by the fish serves as fertilizer for the vegetable plants. The technique, therefore, allows for a synergistic system in which fish and plants are grown together for mutual benefit. This certificate program offers participants the opportunity to build a state of the art aquaponics system that uses the unique patented aeration device, Flo-vex. This highly efficient aerator makes it possible to build a system that uses only water as a working fluid that minimizes energy use, and is both aesthetic and efficient. Participants will engage in the hands-on assembly and installation of a full scale aquaponics system to gain a deep understanding of the technology and its applications. Course fee: $195. Two sessions between September 8 – 16.  Register here.


Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health


Cooking Healthy from Farm to Table: Become the confident cook you’ve always wanted to be by mastering the basic skills for kitchen success. Learn to cut, dice and slice like a pro. This 5-day, hands-on cooking series will focus on practical essential kitchen skills and the fundamentals of cooking everything from grilling and roasting to braising and sautéing. Learn how simple it can be to make homemade and delicious meals. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions and get advice on specific techniques you want to know more about. Course fee: $75. September and October sessions available. Register here.

Professional Food Managers Certification Training (Food Handling): The 16 clock hour course prepares food handlers for any of the nationally accredited food managers’ examinations including Prometric, ServSafe, and the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals. Topics include danger associated with foodborne illness, risk factors that contribute to foodborne disease outbreaks, characteristics of potentially hazardous foods, employee health and personal hygiene, safe food handling, equipment, facilities, and Hazard Analysis Critical Control points (HACCP). Individuals successfully completing the course will take a nationally recognized certification exam. The $147 course fee includes the NSF Guard Professional Food Manager Certification Training Version 6.0 and one round of testing for the national exam. For more information, please contact Paul Brown, Jr. at pbrown@udc.edu or (202) 274-6490. Multiple Dates August – October. Register here.

SMART Nutrition (“Safe, Manageable, Affordable, Relevant, and Tasty Nutrition to Support Healthy Aging): “SMART Nutrition” is an acronym for Safe, Manageable, Affordable, Relevant, and Tasty nutrition geared toward senior residents. This 8-session certificate course is designed to give senior citizens practical healthy aging and chronic disease prevention strategies with a sustainable food, nutrition, and physical activity emphasis. Participants will engage in interactive nutrition education, healthy food budgeting, cooking demonstration, physical activity, nutrition policy, service, and peer coaching activities that will enable them to enhance their personal lives and better serve their community. The adapted evidence-based Eat Smart, Live Strong curriculum for older adults and the University of the District of Columbia Urban Food Hubs Model will serve as the core foundation to the certificate group sessions and service activities. Course fee: $25. September 13 -November 1. Register here.


Center for 4-H and Youth Development


Volunteer Leaders Training: Volunteers have been an integral part of the success of 4-H since the 1920s, serving as club and project leaders, camp counselors, and even as trainers and mentors. 4-H adult volunteers have the unique opportunity to make a significant and positive contribution to youth development by sharing learned skills, making a difference in their lives and leaving a legacy. The 4-H Volunteer Leaders Training prepares adults to assist youth in managing 4-H clubs and activities. Learn how to support our youth in learning about leadership and opportunities that help them to meet their full potential. FREE. For more information, please contact Ms. Rebecca Bankhead at rbankhead@udc.edu or (202) 274-7081. September 17 or November 5. Register here.

Engaging Youth in Urban Agriculture (Workshop for Educators): This course is designed for adults working with children and includes innovative ways of engaging them in agriculture. The course addresses elementary, middle school and high school aged youth. All levels of participation include experiential activities for adults to share with youth that will keep them learning about agriculture and enjoying fun experiences as they learn. Participants will be invited to bring their own ideas and successful projects from their previous work experiences. Includes a field trip to a local school garden, projects and ideas about engaging teens in a farmer’s market will also be included. Course Fee: $75. August 29 – September 1. Register here.


Celebrating the Creative Economy with Chef Spike Mendelsohn and Inventor Thomas Kakovitch

September is Creative Economy month in Washington DC! The Urban Food Hubs of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia exemplify the University’s commitment to the Creative Economy. The Food Hubs use creativity to grow food in innovative ways; add value by preparing food in creative and healthful ways; find innovative solutions for bring top quality food to food desert neighborhoods; and close the loop through state of the art waste and water recovery. In other words, the new urban food economy is an integral part of the creative economy, an economy that is built on people’s creative imagination as the source of value and value addition.

The Urban Food Economy with Chef Spike Mendelsohn 
Sept. 15, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., UDC Van Ness Campus  



There is no better example of a person who uses his creative imagination to create value in our local food economy than Chef Spike Mendelsohn. Known for his commitment to local food, to innovative flavors, and to adding value to tried and true dishes, Chef Mendelsohn knows how to make creative ideas a tasty reality. As DC celebrates the Creative Economy we invite you to join Chef Spike Mendelsohn at the UDC Van Ness Urban Food Hub on Sept. 15 at 5:30 p.m. Please RSVP to causes@udc.edu




The Creative Economy with Inventor Thomas Kakovitch
Sept. 29, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., UDC East Capitol Urban Farm 


The creative economy needs inventors. Without new ideas and new inventions there can be no creative economy or no economy whatsoever. UDC Emeritus Professor Thomas Kakovitch is an inventor who holds 26 patents. One of his patents, an innovative aeration device called the Flo-Vex, is the technology behind the pioneering urban aquaponics systems of the UDC College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences. One of these cutting edge systems is in operation at the East Capitol Urban Farm Food Hub. We invite you to hear inventor Thomas Kakovitch share how he discovered his Flo-Vex idea on Sept. 29 at 5:30 p.m. Please RSVP to causes@udc.edu. East Capitol Urban Farm is located at 5901 East Capitol Street, NE.

CAUSES TV: Computers, Informational Technology & Urban Agriculture

Cities are now home to 80 percent of all people living in the United States and worldwide, almost 60 percent of the population lives in cities. Cities are dense, busy spaces. They are also spaces that consume an awful lot of natural resources and create an awful lot of emissions and waste. Computer scientist and IT specialist are important partners in the development of solutions for effective management of natural resources, emissions and waste. Joining Dr. O'Hara on this edition of CAUSES is Dr. Byunggu Yu, Professor of Computer Science here at the University of the District of Columbia. Dr. Yu specializes in big data and the internet of things. He is also an inventor with a special interest in urban agriculture.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Upcoming Events

As we begin the Fall 2016 semester, please keep your calendars open for these upcoming events!


The Road to Health Equity: Overcoming Racism to Improve Community Wellbeing (Sept. 8)
The 2016 Annual Conference of the Metropolitan Washington Public Health Association (MWPHA) will focus on how race and racism impact communities of color’s health outcomes and overall wellbeing. The conference will be an opportunity for public health professionals and stakeholders from across the DC metropolitan area to unite, learn, network and engage with peers around the issues of health equity and racism. Conference attendees will also have an opportunity to explore and share strategies that can be used to improve health outcomes for communities of color in the DC Metro area. September 8. Register here.

Water Qualities Technologies Seminar (Sept. 14)
Stay in the know on water analysis and network with industry colleagues while discussing routine challenges with smart tools that enhance lab productivity. Co-sponsored by ThermoScientific and the UDC Water Resources Research Institute, seminar highlights include:
• An update on environmental water regulations
• Drinking water analysis methods for common anions and disinfection byproducts
• Wastewater analysis methods for anions, inorganic cations and ammonium
• New approaches for accurate quantitation of volatiles and semi-volatiles at trace levels
• Highlights of key environmental applications with emphasis on elemental impurities in waters
• Fast, robust start-up of routine operations and workflows for the environmental laboratory
September 14. RSVP to osama.elbadry@thermofisher.com.

4-H Reunion (Sept. 22)
Are you an alumnus of the 4-H program? Even if you are not native to D.C., as a transient area, people from all over the nation live here. So no matter where you grew up, if you were a member of 4-H, join the Center for 4-H and Youth Development on September 22. RSVP here.

Firebird Farm Open House (Sept. 23)
Come see how Firebird Research Farm has grown, including the debut of the new fish processing facility and smoker. Firebird Farm is located at 12001 Old Baltimore Pike, Beltsville, Maryland, 20705. RSVP to causes@udc.edu

Urban Agriculture Symposium (Sept. 30)
In 2016, join CAUSES in partnership with George Washington University’s GW Sustainability Collaborative for this day long symposium on urban agriculture and the 2018 USDA Farm Bill. The event will be held in in GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st Street NW, DC 20052. Learn more here. 

DC Area Consortium Meeting (Sept. 30)
The DC Area Colleges and Universities Consortium of Environmental and Occupational Health meeting will be held September 30. By invitation only. Contact tdeksissa@udc.edu for more information.

15th Annual HBCU & HSI Health Services Research Conference (Oct. 7)
This is the 15th Annual HBCU and HSI Health Services Research Conference, where our theme is "Transational Research for Reducing Health Disparities." Researchers from around the country share the results of their work in reducing health disparities in the African American, Hispanic, and other Racial/Ethnic minority population. Dr. Shelley Brown is the keynote speaker. October 7, 2016. Register here.

Cities Alive Green Roofs and Green Wall Conference (Nov. 1-4)
Join green roof and wall industry leaders this November in North America’s foremost city for green roof policy and implementation for the 14th Annual CitiesAlive Conference. This year’s conference will highlight advancements in living architecture design, research and policy, with a focus on stormwater management. Explore the science behind green roof and wall performance and learn how these technologies are enabling designers to meet municipal stormwater management requirements. November 1-4. Register here.

Gleaning Day (Nov. 19)
Join us the weekend before Thanksgiving, as we glean. Last year, 1400 lbs. of kale, Swiss chard and collards were harvested and donated to local area food banks. November 19. RSVP to causes@udc.edu.  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Conference: The Road to Health Equity

The Road to Health Equity: Overcoming Racism to Improve Community Wellbeing
Thursday, September 8, 2016 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM


Hosted at the University of the District of Columbia, he 2016 Metropolitan Washington Public Health Assn (MWPHA) Annual Conference will focus on how race and racism impact communities of color’s health outcomes and overall wellbeing. The conference will be an opportunity for public health professionals and stakeholders from across the DC metropolitan area to unite, learn, network and engage with peers around the issues of health equity and racism. Conference attendees will also have an opportunity to explore and share strategies that can be used to improve health outcomes for communities of color in the DC Metro area.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

New ECUF Farmers Market Hours Announced!

The new farmers market at East Capitol Urban Farm will now be open on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. The market is located at 5901 East Capitol Street, directly across from the Capitol Heights Metro Station.


Save the Date: AWRA Water Resources Symposium


The 5th Annual National Capital Region Water Resources Symposium will be held April 7, 2017, at the University of the District of Columbia. The one-day symposium will bring together experts from governmental agencies, academia, the private sector, and non-profits to present and discuss innovations in water research, technology, policy and management to respect and reflect the true value of water. 

With the theme, Applications of Remote Sensing and Space Technologies in Water Resources Management, the program will feature a keynote address, invited panelists, and breakout sessions featuring submitted oral and poster presentations. Abstracts for oral and poster presentations will be accepted in all areas of water resources management and water infrastructure. The abstract submission deadline is December 5, 2016.


For the full symposium announcement, abstract submission guidelines, and registration information, please visit AWRA NCR. The symposium is hosted by the AWRA-National Capital Region Section and the University of the District of Columbia. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

CAUSES TV: National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association

Washington, D.C., might not be the first place that comes to mind when people talk about agriculture, but our nation’s capital is becoming a leader in urban agriculture, community gardens, the local foods movement, and other green initiatives. One of the groups on the cutting edge of agriculture and green initiatives is the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association, whose mission is to organize, engage and empower Latino farm and ranching advocacy groups, farmworkers transitioning into farm ownership, and, small agricultural producers, throughout the United States. Joining to talk more about the organization’s advocacy, training, and technical assistance is Rudy Arredondo, president of the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association (NLFRTA).

Friday, July 29, 2016

Dates announced for the Sustainable Urban Ag Certificate Program


In 2008, for the first time in recorded history, the world's population became primarily urban. Some urban areas are growing at twice the rate of rural areas. While DC is not growing as rapidly, its population continues to increase. This trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. CAUSES is uniquely positioned as a world-leader in the Urban Ag movement through our Research, Academic, and Outreach programs. In response, we launched a non-credit bearing certificate program in Sustainable Agriculture in 2014. 

The Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate, which begins September 12, 2016, consists of three classes (1 prerequisite course + (Option 1 or Option 2). The program offers two different options:

  • Option 1: Urban Agriculture Techniques
  • Option 2: Business Principles in Urban Agriculture


Classes meet twice per week in the evenings or once on the weekend. A certificate of completion will be issued at the successful completion of each class. 

To receive a certificate in Sustainable Urban Agriculture, participants will pay a one-time fee of $200. If a participant wishes to take individual classes, the cost is $60 per class. Payment must be made at the time of the first class, by check to the University of the District of Columbia.

Continue reading for a description of the classes.

East Capitol Farm selected for Urban Waters tour


The Urban Waters Federal Partnership selected East Capitol Urban Farm as one of the optional tours for their 2016 National Training Workshop. The site was selected as a showcase model for the Urban Waters network. Spearheaded by the Environmental Protection Agency, the partnership facilitates coordination and collaboration between federal agencies and organizations  to improve economically disadvantaged urban communities and their waterways. The partnership is comprised of 13 federal agencies and a number of NGOs. Participating partnership federal agencies include:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

SNAP Education at the Farm

The Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health (CNDH) invited the DC Department of Health's (DOH) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program (SNAP-Ed) to Beltsville for a day at the farm. SNAP-Ed, which seeks seek to increase healthy food and active lifestyle choices among District residents, provides education programs, behavior-change initiatives, and social marketing campaigns designed for individuals receiving or eligible for SNAP. 



"DOH meets quarterly with it's SNAP-Ed implementing agencies," explained Dr. Lillie Monroe-Lord, director of the UDC CNDH program. We decided to host this quarter's at the farm because of the relationship between agriculture and nutrition and the impact on families." 


The activity allows SNAP-Ed participants to see how much fat is in a typical
fast food meal using vegetable shortening.

USDA Open Data STEAM Camp Visits UDC

Students with the USDA Open Data STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math) Camp visited the UDC campus as part of their camp research projects.  Launched last year, the free summer camp allows students to learn about open data through various USDA-related initiatives. This year, students are creating projects based on USDA data in the areas of Urban Agriculture, Urban Forestry, and Food Safety. 

The youth, ages 13-18, toured the UDC CAUSES green roof, the Urban Architecture and Community Development studio and participated in a cooking demonstration (and taste test) 
in our new teaching kitchen with Chef Herb Holden of the Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health. The tour ended with a data set presentation by Dr. Xiaochu Hu, Project Specialist for Applied Economic Evaluation, Center for Sustainable Development.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

East Capitol Farm in the News

East Capitol Urban Farm has been in the news this week, garnering mentions in the New York Times and in FCW: The Business of Federal Technology!


New York Times  |   Washington: The Ideal Place to Grow Older

"There has also been a focus on new park programs aimed at residents 50 and older, such as neighborhood walks, tai chi in the park and more community gardens.

One effort is the East Capitol Urban Farm, a planned transformation of a vacant three-acre plot in Ward 7 into a new urban farm. Partners include the University of the District of Columbia and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities."


Read the full article!


FCW  |  A new face of interagency collaboration

"One final observation that might apply to other cross-agency programmatic collaborations is that the partnership's participants are entrepreneurial in the sense that they actively explore their environment for opportunities not already being exploited. Many projects begin with a narrow focus and then accumulate new purposes over time. Thus, the East Capitol Urban Farm in Washington's Anacostia neighborhood started when Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service and EPA became concerned about a water quality issue, namely that impoverished people in the neighborhood were catching and eating contaminated fish from the Anacostia River."

Continue reading at FCW!