CAUSES is pleased to have hosted a successful Urban Agriculture Symposium on Oct. 24-25. This is a first for the District, but surely not the last given the momentum of the urban ag movement. As a landgrant, the University of the District of Columbia like its fellow landgrant institutions, is charged by the USDA to research solutions for agricultural concerns. And what greater concern is there today than addressing how to feed the world's growing population, estimated to exceed nine billion people by 2050, according to the United Nations. A worthwhile goal, but there are people right here in D.C. who are food insecure, struggling to provide daily meals for their families. Oftentimes, those meals are unhealthy, lacking the nutrients to fight rising urban health concerns like obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
As a landgrant, UDC must provide research-based education both on campus and in the community. Being an urban landgrant institution makes UDC different from other landgrant colleges, because unlike them, the residents we serve live in cities and do not have large amounts of arable land upon which to farm. D.C.'s landgrant programs are housed under CAUSES. Popular offerings include farming and gardening programs for urban residents, many of which are taught at the Muirkirk Research Farm in Beltsville, Maryland. Our nutrition programs are taught in every Ward of the city, in schools, community centers, and places of worship among them.