Friday, August 28, 2015

HarvestFest at the UDC Farm Sept. 25

It's time for HarvestFest at the UDC Research Farm! 

The Second Annual HarvestFest at the UDC Research Farm will be held on Sept. 25, 2015, from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. See how much our farm has grown over the last year while enjoying food, fun and fellowship! Don't forget to bring your reusable bags! RSVP here!

Save the Date: 2015 Urban Agriculture Symposium Oct. 22-24

Student Opportunities: Greenbuild Conference and NRDC soil essay contest

Welcome back, students. The fall term has barely begun and opportunities are already presenting themselves! 

Greenbuild Conference seeking volunteers
Greenbuild is premier conference and expo for the green building movement, will be hosted in Washington, D.C. Nov. 18 -19 with an anticipated 35,000 attendees. Students can attend the conference if they work 8 hours, in a variety of positions from ensuring the sessions are running properly to keeping time. Sign up here. Volunteer schedules can be customized around your school schedule.

Greenbuild provides students between the ages of 18 and 25 who are either a full-time student or a young professional with the opportunity to volunteer and receive free admission ($300 value!) to the conference. Volunteers are only required to work for 8 hours, and in exchange they will receive admission to over 100 education sessions, the ability to network with industry professionals, and view current and upcoming green products on the Expo floor.

NRDC Voices of the Soil video essay contest 
2015 is the International Year of Soils, and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Lexicon of Sustainability are  hosting a contest for young farmers, agricultural students, or any young person who appreciates the value of healthy soil. The contest is open to any U.S. citizen between the age of 18 and 28 who loves soil and is pursuing an education or career in agriculture, environmental science, or other related fields.

Contestants may submit a two-minute video essay less than 5 minutes in length and/or a written essay between 700 and 1000 words by September 8, 2015. Write your essay or make your video by answering one of more of the following questions:
  1. Why is soil health important to you and your community?
  2. What is the important relationship between soil carbon sequestration and a healthy climate?
  3. Why is the relationship between soil and water important?
Visit the webpage at Lexicon of Sustainability for complete instructions and to submit your work. Eight winners will be selected by mid-September and a total of $5,000 in prizes will be awarded. Learn more about the contest. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Around CAUSES August 2015

Harris Trobman joins CAUSES
CAUSES would like to extend a welcome to Harris Trobman, who joined the team as the green infrastructure specialist with the Center for Sustainable Development. Harris specializes in landscape architecture and restoration in urban systems, with a particular focus on diverse interest and complex systems. Harris studied environmental design from Delaware Valley University and holds an MLA from University of Maryland, where he won the National Olmsted Graduate Student Scholar. His team won 1st place in the 2014 EPA Rain-works demonstration project, which proposed disconnecting storm pipes and replacing traditional lawn cover with a meadow landscape that includes bioretention, bioswales, and rain gardens to treat 100 percent of a one-year storm event. Welcome to the team, Harris!

The Delaware Tribe Visits UDC Farm
Representatives from the Delaware Tribe of Indians visited the UDC research in early August 2015 to see firsthand our integrated approach to food systems. They were especially interested in the aquaponics technology and vertical farming systems. Photos from the tour are available on our Facebook Page.

Urban Food Hubs Concept selected for Landgrant National Innovation Showcase

The Urban Food Hubs Solution to Food Security has been selected for the National Innovation Showcase at the National Extension Directors and Administrators meeting held this October in St. Louis, Missouri.  The concept was selected as the result of a highly competitive process.

The Urban Food Hubs concept was chosen from a field of 151 entries that were reported to a research team at Ohio State University. The team was charged with developing a Cooperative Extension Innovation Inventory; the basis for the 2015 meeting designed to illustrate how Cooperative Extension is positioned for excellence in its second 100 years of existence.

The original urban food hubs publication authored by Dr. Sabine O'Hara in the Solutions Journal. Dr. O'Hara is Dean and Director of Landgrant Programs for the University of the District of Columbia.The Urban Food Hubs are now being implemented across the 8 Wards of the District of Columbia, including at the University's Van Ness, Bertie Backus, and PR Harris campuses.  

The Urban Food Hubs Solution to Food Security was also one of four national entries selected for the Cooperative Extension Innovation Twitter Town Hall. Directed by the USDA Communications and Marketing Committee partners at kglobal, this fast-paced event will be held 9:15-10:00 a.m. Central on Wednesday, October 14. We encourage you to follow along and join us at @UDC_CAUSES!

Dr. Susan Kliman advocates for paid internships in architecture

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) launched a national campaign to help put an end to illegal, unpaid internships in the field of architecture. Emerging professionals contribute new ideas and skills to the field. The federal government requires employers to compensate all employees, and emerging professionals completing architectural internships are no exception. The AIA encourages payment for those internship hours.

Dr. Susan Kliman, chair, Urban Architecture and Community Planning, was asked to participate in the effort, appearing in two AIA-sponsored videos. Dr. Kliman has worked closely with the AIA, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and emerging professionals in the past. She is also the principal behind Klimatic Architecture.

Watch the videos to learn more: 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

CAUSES/Goethe-Institut host Future Perfect exhibit until October 9

Brought to you by the Goethe-Institut and hosted by CAUSES, Future Perfect Project tells the stories of individuals, initiatives, organizations and businesses that have moved from ideas towards action for a better, more sustainable future. This exhibition features a selection of stories from around the world which are being published as Creative Commons articles to facilitate an exchange of ideas and to inform and inspire a broad diversity of experiments with a sustainable future. Future Perfect shows the transformation of modern society toward sustainability is not principally the domain of experts in the fields of natural sciences and politics.

Learn more about the exhibit:

Opening with a reception on September 10, the exhibit will be open for viewing until October 9, 2015, on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. - until 7:00 p.m.
(click to enlarge)
The Urban Architecture and Community Planning Department will also host two film screenings. RSVP for for the opening and the films here

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UDC Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program Receives Full Accreditation

UDC BSN graduates class of 2015
The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences of the University of the District of Columbia is pleased to announce the continuing accreditation of its Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program (RN to BSN) by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The RN to BS in Nursing program was visited by the ACEN team in spring 2015 for program review in determination for the continuing accreditation for the baccalaureate program. Final accreditation reaffirmation was announced in July 2015, for another eight years.

“The reaffirmation of our accreditation has been a tremendous recognition of our hard work; from the faculty and students, to the University’s commitment to the success of the RN to BS nursing program,” stated Dr. Pier Broadnax, BSN program director. “The general public demonstrated their support, sharing stories of the role we’ve had in improving the health of residents," she continued.     

Monday, August 24, 2015

CAUSES TV: Urban agriculture and rooftop farming

On this episode of CAUSES TV taped on the new UDC green roof, Dean Sabine O'Hara and UDC Director of Urban Agriculture, Che Axum, discuss rooftop agriculture. Green roofs promote energy efficiency and stormwater management by helping to cool buildings and reducing storm-water runoff, but what makes our green roof unique is that it was constructed to produce food; in other words, it's an edible rooftop. 

The pair also expound upon the CAUSES Urban Food Hubs concept, which consists of: food production, food preparation, food distribution, and waste and wastewater management. Located on UDC's Van Ness campus in Northwest DC,the innovative urban food production and research center anchors Ward 3 food hub in the nation’s capital.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

East Capitol Urban Farm Coming Soon to Ward 7

East Capitol Urban Farm Project: A UDC Partnership Effort


With only four full-service grocery stores in Ward 7 (Ward 3, by comparison, has 11), many of the
Ward’s 71,000 residents do not have easy access to healthy food. Additionally, a 2012 study found
that as many as 17,000 people were eating and sharing fish which may contain chemical contaminants above recommended health levels caught from the nearby Anacostia River—many because they are hungry.


To help address these and other challenges, in 2015, the University of the District of Columbia’s
College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences (UDC) partnered with
the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) to lease a vacant three acre lot (located at 5900 East Capitol
Street SE, Washington, DC) to transform the parcel into the District’s largest-scale urban farm and
aquaponics facility—East Capitol Urban Farm.

The challenge and opportunity for partners is to develop this farm as a model for temporary use
of vacant lots while demonstrating on-site stormwater management and local food production.
The East Capitol Urban Farm is being established in collaboration with the Urban Waters Federal
Urban Waters Federal Partnership—14 federal agencies working collectively to address environmental and economic challenges in cities across the country in underserved communities. The East Capitol Farm is one of a network of urban farms UDC and its partners will develop.

Monday, August 17, 2015

UDC Nursing director coordinates health screenings for citywide events

As fall approaches, it's time to get healthy as we head into the latter part of the year. As part of that effort, Dr. Pier Broadnax, director of the RN to BS in Nursing program has been tasked with coordinating health services for DC residents by offering free screenings at a number of citywide events. On Saturday, August 15, Dr. Broadnax, organized health services at the DC General Homeless Shelter back to school event, which was sponsored by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Councilmembers Yvette Alexander, Elissa Silverman and Charles Allen.  

"We have recruited several District nursing groups to help with these events. Today, the George Washington, School of Nursing, graduate faculty, BridgePoint Hospital, the Nigerian Nurses Association and DC Fire and EMS are helping out at this event," explained Dr. Broadnax.
The nurses and EMTs offered free screenings for blood pressure, glucose, BMI (Body Mass Index)  and depression. Dr. Elgloria Harrison, special assistant to the Dean of CAUSES, was also on hand to offer attendees information about asthma. According to the Washington Post, most children in DC who are hospitalized for asthma reside in Wards 7 and 8.

"We are providing outreach to a community that has traditionally been underserved; especially those who are homeless and disenfranchised, living in a shelter," stated Dr. Broadnax. "People have been pleased at receiving one-on-one education, materials and screenings for both parents and children."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015

DC 4-H presents to Mexican delegation at NIFA seminar

By Diego Lahaye, extension agent, Center for 4-H and Youth Development

On Monday, August 3, I attended the 4‐H Youth Development Seminar: Perspectives from the Federal, State & Local Levels at National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

USDA and NIFA authorities welcomed several universities from Mexico under the Red de Extensión e Innovación  Nacional Universitaria (REINU) network. This delegation consisted of around 15 university presidents in addition to the presence of about 30 people. Leading the delegation was  Lic. Juan Manuel Verdugo Rosas, Subsecretario de Desarrollo Rural ( Undersecretary of Rural Development of Mexico).

The panel was formed by Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, Director, NIFA; Dr. Lisa Lauxman, Director, Youth and 4‐H, NIFA, Dr. Amy McCune; and Mr. Doug Swanson, National Program Leaders, 4‐H; Dr. Kirk Astroth, Assistant Dean & Director Arizona 4‐H Youth Development; and myself, representing the University of District of Columbia and CAUSES.

Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health in the Community

Unity Parkside: A Taste of African Heritage Pilot 
by LaShell Staples

This summer, the CAUSES Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health (CNDH) piloted a new nutrition curriculum specifically designed for African-Americans and descendants of Africans across the diaspora. A Taste of African Heritage is a program established by Oldways, a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization. The program introduces a six-week curriculum that focuses on nutrition education, traditional African heritage foods and cultural history. 

The purpose of the program is to reduce health disparities by reconnecting African-Americans to the history, culture and foodways of their African ancestors. Moreover, the program’s foundation lies in the extensive research conducted by physicians, dietitians, and historians and evidence-based eating model – the African Heritage Pyramid - an evidence-based eating model that serves as a guide to teach healthy cooking using traditional foods that are familiar to African-Americans. 

CNDH piloted the A Taste of African Heritage curriculum in partnership with Unity Healthcare’s Parkside WeCan! Initiative in the District’s Ward 7 with 16 participants. Many of whom were diagnosed with Type II diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol, enrolled in the CNDH pilot and attended six nutrition classes. They completed the A Taste of African Heritage classes over the course of three months. The participants learned about the history of traditional African heritage cuisines while being reintroduced to natural foods formerly enjoyed by their ancestors. They also learned about the negative impacts of increased sodium and sugar consumption and how to prepare delicious plant-based meals using whole grains, vegetables, fruits and spices that derived from Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. The participants observed cooking demonstrations and eventually began to prepare the recipes on their own.  The classes encouraged them to explore their family histories, prepare more meals at home,  and share the program materials with their family members and friends. 

The A Taste of Heritage class program proved itself to be a very successful and effective pilot for both Unity Healthcare and CNDH. Program outcomes revealed increased fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption among participants and a decrease in health risks, as a majority of the participants experienced weight loss and normalized blood glucose and blood pressure levels. The effectiveness of the classes was also evidenced by remarkable lifestyle changes observed during the program.

For example, a few participants began adopting a part-time, plant-based lifestyle, where “Meatless Mondays” were incorporated into their weekly meal planning efforts. Other participants used African heritage spices to prepare meals and refrained from using from preparing meals with salt or sodium-rich seasonings. As class graduation approached, many participants were reluctant to end the program because they had so much fun. They left the A Taste of African Heritage classes feeling encouraged by their results, more confident in their futures, and eager to continue eating healthy. 

Following the success of the A Taste of African Heritage pilot at Unity Healthcare Parkside, CNDH presented the program to the DC Department of Health SNAP-Ed team and received positive feedback. Dr. Lillie Monroe-Lord, Director of the Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health and the CNDH team are currently identifying strategies for expanding the A Taste of African Heritage program across multiple community partnerships, with plans of establishing it as part of CNDH’s core nutrition education offerings. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

East Capitol Urban Farm Community Meeting - Aug. 11

Miss the last community meeting about this exciting project? Join us Tuesday, August 11, at 6:30 p.m. at 5900 East Capitol Street, NE!