Thursday, August 3, 2017



Location: Workshops with Sandy Farber and Mr. Yao at East Capitol Urban Farm on Thursdays 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., Saturdays 10:00 -11:00 a.m.
Weed Walks in the Garden - Learn how to Identify Common Weeds and Develop Management Strategies with Sandy Farber
East Capitol Urban Farm
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Thursday, July 27, 2017

Pest and Beneficial Insect ID and Organic Management Strategies with Sandy Farber
East Capitol Urban Farm
Saturday, August 5, 2017
Thursday, August 10, 2017

Introduction To  Ethnic Crop Production 101 with Yao Afantchao
East Capitol Urban Farm
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Saturday, July 29, 2017

Earth Friendly Fertilizing for Summer Crop with Sandy Farber
East Capitol Urban Farm
Saturday, August 19, 2017

Cover Crops: The How and Why? Learn Strategies For Better Urban Soil Management with Yao Afantchao
East Capitol Urban Farm
Thursday, August 10, 2017

UDC Lead Abatement Worker Course with Dr. Dwane Jones
UDC Main Campus (Van Ness)
September 7-8, 2017
$275; Scholarships are available for D.C. residents

Seed Saving From Your Favorite Summer Veggies with Yao Afantchao
Firebird Research Farm
Saturday, September 9, 2017

Urban Agriculture Certificate Class  (10-Week Course)
Van Ness Campus and Firebird Research Farm

Sustainable Urban Vegetable Production Class with Yao Afantchao and Sandy Farber
East Capitol Urban Farm
Saturdays, September 9, 16, 23, 30 October 7 and 14, 2017 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Aquaponics  101 (15 Contact  hrs.)
Location: TBA

Hydroponics 101 (15 Contact hrs.)
Bertie Backus or Van Ness Campus

East Capitol Urban Farm
5901 East Capitol Street SE
Washington, D.C. 20019

UDC Firebird Farm
12001 Old Baltimore Pike
Beltsville, MD 20705

UDC Main Campus (Van Ness)
4200 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

You may register:

Please contact Marcus Christon ( if you have any questions about registration details.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience:

Officially the District’s largest urban farm, the East Capitol Urban Farm (ECUF) is a national model for temporary use of vacant lots, local food production, fresh food access, community education and on-site storm water management.  The site features a community garden space, a demonstration area, exercise trails, a nature discovery area, public art, rain, and pollinator gardens.  Its’ market place and aquaponics facility seek to improve food security and sustainability in Ward 7,  which has been identified as a food desert in the District of Columbia, through food production, food preparation, food distribution, and waste and water management. 

 “This farm shows our community, our city, and the rest of the world how to eat healthy, grow food where you wouldn't believe food could grow, and to educate,” said Tommy Wells, director, District Department of Energy and Environment during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I'm proud that through this partnership that we can do something that special in the nation's capital,” Wells continued.

The 11th Street Bridge Park project, located between the Washington Navy Yard and the National Park Service’s Anacostia Park, is a re-utilization of the old 11th Street river bridges that connect Washington, DC’s Capitol Hill and historic Anacostia neighborhoods.  This project is a partnership between the District government and the local nonprofit organization, Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC.  It’s goal is to transform the aged infrastructure into the city’s first elevated park and a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education and the arts.  With plenty of green space for recreational activities, pedestrian and bicycle routes, this project will encompass existing river-walk trails to create an iconic architectural symbol across the Anacostia River that supports the community’s physical, environmental and economic health.  Through this project, the Center was able to certify over one hundred project participant “pop-up” gardens, held education workshops in aquaponics and hydroponics and have harvested over 750 pounds of fresh food.  This project is positioned to bring equity in home ownership, access to fresh and nutritious foods and build stronger communities to the residents of Ward 8 through partnerships with several agencies such as the Anacostia Arts Center, ArtReach at THEARC, Capitol Riverfront BID, the Phillips Collection, the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum, Ward 8 Arts & Culture Council, We Act Radio and UDC’s Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience. 

The Center has partnered with the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP); a consortium comprised of the Water Environment Federation, DC Water and national organizations such as the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Capitol Region Water and the Baltimore City Department of Public Works, to bring job training to over forty District residents from across the city. “Initiated under the leadership of DC Water and the Water Environment Federation, the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP) sets national certification standards for green infrastructure (GI) construction, inspection, and maintenance workers. Designed to meet international best practice standards, the certification advances the establishment of sustainable communities by promoting GI as an environmentally and economically beneficial storm-water management option, supporting the development of proficient green workforces, and establishing a career path for skilled GI workers. “   This program offered stipend-based exam preparation for jobs in the green infrastructure construction, inspection and maintenance industries. 

In addition to those outstanding projects, the Center unveiled the University’s first educational Food Truck, Commercial Kitchen and partnered with the District’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) on several initiatives.  The Food Truck travels across the District to distribute recipes for and samples of healthy, easy to prepare foods.  The commercial kitchen serves as the backdrop for the Center for Nutrition Diet and Health’s Professional Food Handlers Certification program and will eventually be utilized as an incubator site for local food-based businesses.   Through the DOEE, the Center participated in the Green Zone Environmental Program and the DOEE Tree Summit.  Both programs improve the lives of District residents through education on energy and environmental issues such as rain gardens, storm water management practices and the importance of native trees as a way of creating a more diverse ecosystem, improving air quality, and increasing property values. 

UDC Food Truck

Chef Herb in the CAUSES Commercial Kitchen 
For more information on the Center of Sustainable Development and Resilience, please visit 





Monday, September 19, 2016

CAUSES TV: The Urban Food Hub Solution

As the landgrant college of the University of the District of Columbia our mission is to offer research based academic and community outreach programs that improve the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of the District of Columbia. One of our key initiatives that enable us to reach that goal is our Urban Food Hubs. Each Food Hub seeks to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods throughout Washington, DC by building capacity on four key areas: (1) food production, food preparation, food distribution and closing the loop through waste and water management. 

Joining Dr. O'Hara to talk more about urban food hubs and their involvement are Sarah Mousavizadeh, a recent graduate from our architecture program, and Hakeem Mumford, a political science major here at the University of the District of Columbia.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

CAUSES TV: More Than Housing

As Washington DC’s only public university, and the only urban landgrant university in the nation, the University of the District of Columbia conducts research and offers academic and community outreach programs that expand knowledge about urban agriculture, healthy eating habits, food safety, greener and more livable neighborhoods, and urban sustainability. In other words, our programs focus on the health of people and on the health of our natural and built environment; thus our motto is Healthy Cities – Healthy People. One of the federal agencies that know a lot about the making of healthy cities is HUD, The United States Agency for Housing and Urban Development. Joining Dr. O'Hara to talk more about HUD is Mr. Marvin Turner, Regional Director of the United States Department for Housing and Urban Development.

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 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 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

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 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

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

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 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  

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.