The University of the District of Columbia was named one of the honorees of the Sustainable DC Innovation Challenge, winning three out of seven grants for a total of $921,000. The grant competition was established to promote novel initiatives among District agencies that will advance Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s Sustainable DC Plan that seeks to make the District of Columbia the greenest, healthiest and most sustainable city in the nation.
In his announcement Mayor Gray stated:
“These Sustainable DC Innovation Challenge grants demonstrate that a dollar invested in sustainability can return multiple benefits for the city. By building outdoor classrooms, urban farms and greenhouses, and green infrastructure for storm-water control we can help educate the next generation, increase access to healthy foods, expand job training and business opportunities, and ensure protection of our natural resources.”
UDC’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences was awarded three grants; one for building three state of the art neighborhood scale aquaponics facilities; one for building a commercial kitchen facility and food truck to promote nutrition, job-skills and entrepreneurship training; and one to create a native plants nursery to combat invasive plant species and restoration native habitats. All three facilities will serve as community education center to create local green-jobs training.
“This is a unique opportunity to see the community education and research programs we offer through our land-grant programs transform District neighborhoods,” said UDC Interim President Dr. James E. Lyons.
The Innovation Challenge awarded a total of $2.35 million to District agencies. Other honorees include the District Department of Transportation, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.
The three UDC grants were authored by Dr. Dwane Jones, Director of the CAUSES Center for Sustainable Development, and Mary Farrah, of the CAUSES Center for Urban Agriculture.
“I could not be more proud of our CAUSES team. This is an exciting time for our land-grant programs and we look forward to working with our colleagues from the UDC Office of Facilities and Real Estate to bring these projects to fruition and to make our city a healthier and more attractive place for its residents,” said Dr. Sabine O’Hara, CAUSES Dean and Director of Land-Grant Programs.
The Office of Facilities and real estate of UDC is led by led by Vice President Barbara Jumper.