Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ethnic crops workshop fosters global community, locally

Firebird Research Farm hosted Ethnic Crops: Food Production and Marketing Strategies on 
March 19, 2016. Ethnic foods have grown in popularity throughout the U.S. in recent years, and this trend is projected to continue grow, especially in the Greater Metropolitan Area with its diverse population. Our Ethnic Crops program seeks to provide consumers with foods that meet their desire for healthy foods with an international flavor while also showcasing options for Mid-Atlantic producers seeking profitable alternative crops to plant. For some consumers, the availability of ethnic crops allows them to continue cultural food traditions that have been passed down through generations, and community education events allow DC area residents the opportunity to sample and learn to prepare these crops in dishes that are both tasty and healthy

CAUSES has initiated research and outreach efforts to improve crop production and galvanize relationships between producers and consumers using the UDC research farm as a home base. Our goal is to assist in making these ethnic foods both accessible and affordable, while increasing knowledge in nutrition as well as soil and crop management.

Organized by UDC Ethnic Crops Specialist and NE SARE representative, Yao Afantchao, presenters also included: 

  • Olukemi Adeola, UDC-CC Food Science Adjunct
  • John B. Manirakiza, Community Leader
  • Tambra Raye Stevenson, NativSol Kitchen and WANDA
  • W. Dean Hively, USDA Agricultural Research Service and SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education)


Here's what's new in CAUSES:

  • Meet Ashley Milton, our new project specialist in environmental and public health
  • Teresa Turner selected to present at national conference
  • Nicole Sliva secures NIH Internship
  • The UDC Men's Soccer Team volunteers at the Garden of the Senses
  • DC Master Gardeners get the green roof ready for the growing season
Keep reading to learn more!

Energy and Water – Addressing Local and Global Challenges

by Carilyne Vance

World Green Energy Symposium
On Thursday, April 7, 2016 and Friday, April 8, 2016 the CAUSES hosted two very important and impactful events; the World Green Energy Symposium and the 2016 AWRA-NCR Annual Water Symposium. The World Green Energy Symposium, was held in the University’s new LEED Platinum certified Student Center and was moderated by Ms. Jan Fox, former news anchor for WUSA-TV9 and featured keynote speaker Tommy Wells, Director, Department of Energy and Environment.  Mr. Wells was joined by Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy of the United States Department of Agriculture, Mr. Michael Bae Johnson of ConEdison of New York and Dean Sabine O’Hara.  All speakers focused on the need to combat food insecurity, water scarcity and the availability of sustainable energy sources in a collaborative effort between Developed and Non-Developed countries. The importance of innovative technologies and the re-thinking of current practices were stressed along with the urgent need to prepare future generations for the challenges ahead through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs. 

AWRA-NCR Annual Water Symposium, held at the University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law, brought together leaders in the field of water resource and waste management from across the region to discuss new technologies for finding and supplying water where it is needed and efficiently treating waste. Presentations were given by Emily Feenstra, Deputy Director of the US Water Alliance, Dr. Kimberly L. Jones, Professor of Environmental Engineering and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Howard University, Saul Kinter, Innovation Program Manager for DC Water and Dr. Eugene Stakhiv, Associate Research Scientist at Johns Hopkins University, Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering and Visiting Scholar at the Corps’ Institute for Water Resources. The accompanying panel discussion stressed the need for a unified approach to managing the Earths’ depleting water resource and the need to build a bridge between those who have a seemingly abundant source and those who suffer through cyclical or sustained scarcity.  

For more information on these events and organizations, please visit  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Seeking Sponsors for ISEE 2016

We are seeking sponsors for ISEE 2016, to be held June 26-29. The conference presents a great place to gain visibility in front of an audience of policy makers, researchers, and citizens committed to advancing tangible solutions for a sustainable and resilient economy.

A contribution of $1,500 (bronze level) will secure your admission to the conference and will enable two graduate students or researchers from non-OECD countries to attend; $3,000 (silver level) will secure three conference admissions for you, and sponsor three scholars from non-OECD countries; and $5,000 (gold level) will give you five conference admissions and sponsor five scholars from overseas. 

As a bronze sponsor, your organization will be listed in the conference program; silver sponsorship will also list your organization on the screen during the ISEE plenary sessions; and as a gold sponsor your organization will additionally be featured on four segments of CAUSES TV. A sponsorship of $1,000 or more also guarantees that your organization’s name will be prominently displayed at the conference and on the conference website.

More information about the conference can be found at If you are interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at ISEE 2016, please email

ISEE 2016: Kenneth Boulding Award Winners Announced

The International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) announced the 2016 recipients of the Kenneth Boulding Award that will be presented at the 2016 ISEE Conference, June 26 - 29, on the campus of the University of the District of Columbia. The Kenneth E. Boulding award of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) is given in honor of people who exemplify aspects of the special character of Kenneth E. Boulding with the hope of perpetuating his many individual strengths, that combined into his wisdom and lasting influence. The 2016 Kenneth Boulding Award to Professor Kanchan Chopra and to Professor Arild Vatn.

Ward 7's East Capitol Urban Farm & Food Hub Re-opening Day

On Saturday, May 21, 2016, partners and friends of East Capitol Urban Farm & Food Hub will come together to celebrate the re-opening of East Capitol Urban Farm—a model for temporary use of vacant lots, fresh food access, and community education.

East Capitol Urban Farm is one of several Urban Food Hubs pioneered by the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) to improve food security and sustainability in D.C. neighborhoods through food production, food preparation, food distribution, and waste and water management. East Capitol Urban Farm & Food Hub is a result of a major local, federal, public and private alliance between UDC CAUSES, the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, several District of Columbia government agencies, community organizations, churches, and businesses to transform a vacant, three-acre parcel of land to become the city’s largest-scale urban farm of its type to increase access to local and sustainable produce and fish for Ward 7. Features of the project include community garden space, demonstration area, exercise trails, nature discovery area, public art, rain and pollinator gardens, market place and an aquaponics facility.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

RFP: Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is a program administered by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS) to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Over $63.2 million in SCBGP grants are allocated to U.S. States and territories based on a formula that considers both specialty crop acreage and production value.

UDC staff and faculty (landgrant or full time faculty) may apply with research, outreach, or production based programs that in some way, increase the competitiveness of specialty  crops. Additionally, for-profit and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply, as long as they are promoting specialty crops and not seeking profit for an individual product or brand. 

These applications exclude projects focused on commodity crops, such as soybean/corn/rice. It includes most other vegetable/fruit/horticultural crops (including mushrooms, turfgrass, and ornamental crops). A complete list of eligible and ineligible specialty crops can be found on the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant website. Eligibility and restrictions for funding and organizations are outlined in the RFP.

UDC has approximately $200,000 to award to outstanding projects that benefit District residents. Generally, projects that are accepted are between $10,000 and $50,000 across 2 years (start date, Feb 1, 2017). Generally, four to five projects are awarded each year. The due date for turning in applications is midnight, May 27, 2016. Applications should be mailed in Microsoft Word format (with additional supporting documents in PDF or Word) to Matthew Richardson or William Hare

Download the RFP and project submission template. Visit the CAUSES grants page to see the previous subawardees.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Water management: green, cheap, and sustainable

By Grace Hutapea, UDC Political Science Major and CAUSES intern 

In some parts of the world, the existence of water is more valuable than gold. Thus, water has become the most important resource in the world. Water is needed to sustain our lives. In fact, every manufactured product uses water at some part of the production process. As a result, water has become more scarce due to insufficient supply to meet an even increasing demand. Currently, there is a growing trend to utilize wastewater among industries and businesses. This trend has been a major development in water, energy and green technology. The lack of access to a clean water is the driving force behind this trend.

Speaking before the World Green Energy Symposium at the University of the District of Columbia on April 7, 2016, Paul Puckorius, President and CEO of Puckorius & Associates, emphasized the importance of water management as part of energy management. According to Puckorius, the future water management involves green technology to sustain both water and energy. This includes water conservation and water reuse; eliminating or reduction of chemical use in water systems; and development of green water treatment products. 

The implementation of water management is especially important for the commercial and industrial because it will save a lot of money while conserving the water at the same time. For example: recycling the wastewater for toilet use, then treating the used water for cooling towers. According to Puckorius, with proper planning industrial facilities can save somewhere between 10-30 percent in water costs when they switch from freshwater to reclaimed wastewater for use in cooling tower.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Still time to register for ISEE 2016!


The 2016 Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) will focus on an Economic Transformation to Sustain Food, Water, Energy and Justice. Such an economy supports the resilience of our planet and its live support systems rather than undermining it. And it has implications for both local and global decision making.

We expect 500 participants from all over the world, and look forward to a lively exchange between policy makers, researchers, and citizens committed to advancing tangible solutions for a sustainable and resilient economy. Plenary speakers include:
  • Frances Moore LappĂ©, author of Diet for a Small Planet and the Small Planet Institute Director.
  • Dr. Renato Maluf, President Emeritus of the Food Policy Council of Brazil, and Professor at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Mokgadi Monamati, Senior Natural Resources Specialist of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Industry of Botswana. 
  • Jairam Ramesh, former Minister of Rural Development, Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Indian Minister of State of the Ministry of the Environment. 
  • Shi Yan, President of Shared Harvest, and founder of the Community Supported Agriculture movement in Beijing, China.
The conference will be held on the campus of the University of the District of Columbia at 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. For registration details and further information please visit  

ISEE 2016 is sponsored by the International Society of Ecological Economics and the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia.

East Capitol Urban Farm April Update

By Dr. Dwane Jones, director, Center for Sustainable Development

Dear Friends & Partners of East Capitol Urban Farm,

I want to personally thank you, the Ward 7 community and our long list of partners for your continued support of East Capitol Urban Farm (ECUF), located at 5901 East Capitol Street SE, WDC. ECUF is a unique urban space that includes opportunities for education, access, and community engagement for residents of Ward 7. It consists of community gardening beds, walking trails, a kids play area, an aquaponics facility, public art spaces (mural + sculpture) and a community plaza.  

We have scheduled a re-opening day for East Capitol Urban Farm for the Spring 2016 season. The event will take place at the farm on Saturday, May 21, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. There will be free food, a farmer’s market, health screenings, information about programs & soil testing. Additionally, a ribbon cutting for the UDC Urban Food Hubs Education Vehicle (aka Education Food Truck) and an aquaponics system (growing of fish + produce in the same space), both funded by Sustainable DC and District Department of the Environment, is planned.

In addition to the grand re-opening, here is a short list of many more noteworthy updates and upcoming event:
  • 33 garden plot applications have been assigned (excluding community schools). Garden plots are FREE for residents of Ward 7. Please contact Harris Trobman at or (202) 274-6682 for inquiries or to request a garden plot or volunteer application.
  • 35 volunteers (up from 22 in December) have committed to and completed the processes required to help operate East Capitol Urban Farm.
  • UDC’s Institute of Gerontology has also been assigned gardening space in an effort to launch educational programs targeted towards the elderly (contact: or (202) 274-6659 for additional information).
  • An East Capitol Site Improvement Day is scheduled for Friday, April 22, 2016 (Earth Day!) from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Volunteer assistance is requested.
  • Engaged middle + high school and UDC students in learning about Urban Agriculture and Green Infrastructure (using ECUF as an outdoor classroom).
  • UDC shared updates at two recent ANC meetings (7C + 7E).
  • Begun preparing the site for the Art Sculpture.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Senior nutrition fair held in celebration of National Nutrition Month

In celebration of National Nutrition Month, the CAUSES Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health, the Institute of Gerontology, the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Department of Health Education held a Senior Nutrition Fair on March 16, 2016. The fair included cooking demonstrations on healthy eating, using herbs and spices to reduce salt intake, and a variety of other stations and workshops centered on healthy nutrition and ageing. The event was held in Heritage Hall of the new UDC Student Center and included the following nutrition stations.
  • Giant Foods In-Store Nutritionist Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, LDN 
  • Healthy Food Demonstration by Chef Tyrome Henson (CNDH/EFNEP) with Vegetable Marinara & Whole Wheat Noodles and Couscous with Tomato, Chicken & Basil 
  • MyPlate for Seniors with Ana Laura Vasquez-Quino (CNDH/SNAP-Ed) 
  • Healthy Food Demonstration by Chef Herbert Holden (CNDH/SNAP-Ed) 
  • Kale & Quinoa Salad, Sweet Potato & Kale Soup and Mango, Avocado & Black Bean Salad 
  • Savor the Flavor with Herbs and Spices with Helen Naylor (CNDH/SNAP-Ed) 
  • Know Your Sugar with Sandra Contreras (CNDH/SNAP-Ed) 
  • Savor the Flavor using Healthy Fats with Michaele Tompkins-Davis (CNDH/SNAP-Ed) 
  • Food Safety with Paul Brown Jr. (CNDH/SNAP-Ed) 
  • Senior Survey conducted by the Nutrition and Dietetics program 
  • All About CAUSES with Marshelle Hailstock (CAUSES) 
  • College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences 
Dr. Lillie Monroe-Lord stated that the Senior Nutrition Fair was designed for seniors in an attempt to reintroduce them to healthful eating using local foods. Many of the foods demonstrated were grown at the CAUSES Firebird Farm and on the UDC green roof.

Participating seniors were tasked with visiting every station in order to receive a complimentary gift bag.

"It was important to have this event in celebration of National Nutrition Month. We wanted to provide seniors with nutrition information and provide them with healthy snacks and food, and help them to understand the importance of eating healthy," explained Claudia John, project specialist, Institute of Gerontology.

This type of event showcases the best of CAUSES--the integration between our academic and landgrant programs. Members of CAUSES and fair participants comment on why this type of event is so beneficial:

Chef Herb Holden, CNDH: The seniors know what they should be doing. And if they aren't, once they taste some of the of samples, they make the connection about eating healthy at their age. I love doing things for senior because it's not true that you can't change minds after a certain age; it's not about reinventing the wheel, but being reintroduced to it."

Loretta, senior participant: "I'm very impressed. The information was thorough and the food was good!"

Roxana Ehsanim Giant nutritionist: "It's great to be able to provide nutrition education materials to seniors. I'm showing a sugar display for a lot of foods people don't realize contain a lot of sugar, like BBQ sauce or oatmeal. My job is to bring awareness to the seniors."

Jessica Guinyard, Health Education major: "The need for nutrition education and the promotion of health and wellness is strongly needed in this community. Participating in these types of events give people outlets and resources to learn how to manage healthy lifestyles. One would think that seniors are stuck in their ways, but they're actually really receptive and want to learn how to use what they have to maintain a healthy lifestyle."

Ayesha Moten and Michelle Jasso, Nutrition and Dietetics majors: "I love working with seniors. They were very helpful and informative even though our survey was eight pages long."

"We plan on surveying the community in Wards 5,7, and 8 and used this event as a trial run. Once the information is collected and barriers to senior nutritional health have been finalized with supporting data, that information will be turned over to the DC Government.

James Lee, Institute of Gerontology: "At this event, seniors get a better understanding about healthy eating. Plus, our senors love giveaways!"

Chef T, CNDH: "We get the opportunity to do outreach to the community and provide them with nutrition education - as well as make new friends! They also appreciate the fact that we supply them with cost-effective recipes."

Paul Brown, CNDH: "The importance of making sure our seniors get vital information they may not read or see on TV. Us being able to talk to them face to face and helping them with their health problems is definitely a good thing, especially when it comes to food safety and teaching them things like cooked food should not be refrigerated more than seven days. Seniors are also pleasantly surprised to learn they can take the food safety certification course for $28 (the cost is normally $147).

Dorothy, senior participant: "I loved today. I do a lot of exercise. I'm 83 and do Tai-Chi and yoga at St. Alban's, so this was the perfect even for me."

"The seniors are happy with this event and are asking to host it again next year; so I'm hoping to make this an annual event for the University of the District of Columbia," said Ms. John. "And I must say thank you to CNDH. They've done a phenomenal job. And thanks to CAUSES for pulling together as a team to make this happen. it was a tremendous event."

For additional information on the Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health, contact Dr. Lillie Monroe-Lord at For more information on the Institute of Gerontology, contact Ms. Claudia John at For more information on the Nutrition and Dietetics degree program, contact Dr. Prema Ganganna at Additional photos are available on our Facebook page.

Monday, April 11, 2016

CAUSES TV: Water Management

Washington, DC, might not be the first place that comes to mind when we talk about green jobs, and a green city, but there is in fact a lot going on here and our nation’s capital is becoming a leader in green roofs, green infrastructure, urban agriculture, the local foods movement and other green initiatives.

As Washington, DC’s, public land grant university, the University of the District of Columbia conducts research and provides community outreach programs to expand knowledge about urban agriculture, urban sustainability, healthy eating habits, greener and more livable neighborhoods, right here in our nation’s capital. 

Joining Dr. O'Hara is Dr. Dwane Jones, director, UDC CAUSES Center for Sustainable Development, and Seth Charde, with DC Water, who works to develop and implement the agency's Water’s Green Infrastructure Program under the DC Clean Rivers Project. Together, they discuss green jobs and the growing interest in making our cities greener and more livable.

East Capitol Farm Re-Opening May 21!