Thursday, August 21, 2014

UDC to Launch Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate Program

The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is pleased to announce the launch of the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate Program, the first of many certificates to provide classroom and experiential knowledge to community residents. With the global population projected to increase to nine billion by 2050, and 70 percent of whom are expected to live in urban areas, building the capacity to feed the world remains a top priority. The District of Columbia continues to experience high growth as well. 

In response to this growing need, the certificate program will address urban agriculture, urban food production and urban agribusiness, and sustainable design for urban agriculture, providing more information to participants about small-scale, urban gardening and farming. These courses will utilize the Muirkirk Farm in Beltsville, Maryland, and other program sites throughout the District, to teach participants how to successfully grow produce as well as learn about the methods in which to make farming more sustainable.  The courses will also provide participants well-rounded knowledge about agriculture from designing small farms and gardens to understanding the nutritional makeup of different fruits and vegetables.

“We use the research conducted at our farm and landgrant centers to develop community education programs that help people translate what we do, to their own neighborhoods and households,” explains Dr. Sabine O’Hara, Dean of CAUSES. “By offering this certificate program, we are teaching people not only how to grow their own fresh food, but how to turn that knowledge into a viable business opportunity for their local communities.”

As the only urban landgrant university in the U.S., UDC is uniquely positioned as a world-leader in the urban agriculture movement through our research, academic and outreach. We offer cutting edge academic programs in environmental science, urban sustainability, water resources management, nutrition and dietetics, urban architecture and community planning. As a landgrant, CAUSES also offers a wide range of programs that serve individuals and organizations in our community and beyond, focusing on improving economic conditions, social and cultural circumstances, and the health of people and their living environments.

Classes will be taught by CAUSES faculty and staff with the intent of moving beyond the classroom to real world experiences. Each certificate program consists of three to five weeks of classes. Classes will meet up to twice per week on evenings and some weekends, for a total of 15 contact hours per class. While the courses are non-credit bearing, a certificate of completion will be issued at the successful completion of each class. Residents of all expertise levels, from beginners to those working the field, are welcome to participate.

Participants may register for the entire certificate program or just take selected courses based on their interests and schedule. To receive a certificate in Sustainable Urban Agriculture, participants will pay a one-time fee of $100. If a participant wishes to take individual classes, the cost is $40 per class. Payment will be made at the time of the first class, by check, if participating in the entire certificate program or an individual class.

More information is available here. For information on registration, call (202) 274-7193 or email with the certificate program or individual classes you are interested in taking. For more information on the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences of the University of the District of Columbia, please visit  

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