Tuesday, September 29, 2015

UDC Research Farm on display at HarvestFest 2015!

The Second Annual CAUSES HarvestFest brought together UDC staff, students, administration, the Institute of Gerontology and friends of CAUSES for an afternoon of food and fun! For the past three years, Muirkirk Farm has developed into an Experiment Station for small-scale urban and peri-urban agriculture. The farm also serves as a training facility to build food systems capacity in underserved urban neighborhoods.

CAUSES Dean Sabine O'Hara, Associate Dean William Hare and Director of Urban Agriculture, Che Axum, served  as tour leaders for the event which saw over 100 visitors on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. Chef Herb and Chef T from the Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health cooked onsite, providing refreshments using produce grown on the farm. 

The tour included overviews of our: 
Solar Well - The solar powered well is the nerve center of the farm demonstrating the use of technology for water saving agricultural management practices.

Aquaponics Systems - The CAUSES aquaponics systems utilize the unique patented aeration device, Flo-Vex, which is based on suction created by molecular spin rather than compression; this preserves the much needed microbial activity to support high intensity aqua- and hydro-culture.

Hydroponics Demonstration Greenhouse - The small green house serves a demonstration site for different types of high intensity hydroponic production; the hydroponics hoop house supports graduate student research on revenue generation through hydroponic production.

Ethnic Crops Program - Our ethnic crops program is a prime example of successful Food Distribution that utilizes niche markets in diverse urban communities.

Specialty Crops Program - Our specialty crops program supports partnerships with community based organizations focused on urban agriculture; it also supports a partnership with Bread for the City and other local food banks to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables for DC’s underserved populations.

Food Preparation and Value Added - The value added component of the UDC Farm is in its early stages of implementation; a food prep area, cold storage, and a fish smoker are near completion; a commercial kitchen in an 8x49 sq. ft. standard container will be installed this fall.

The Mini Food Hub – The UDC CAUSES Urban Food Hubs concept demonstrate improved food security through (1) Food Production, (2) Food Preparation, (3) Food, and (4) Waste and Water Management. The Mini Food Hub demonstrates all four components on less than 1/3 acre of land. 

A great time was had by all! If you missed HarvestFest, stay tuned for additional opportunities to visit the farm!

Additional photos are available on our Facebook page.

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