Thursday, May 26, 2016

CAUSES CSA Produce Purchase Program

This year, CAUSES will be offering a limited produce purchase  program, featuring produce grown at Firebird Farm and the UDC green room. The program is open to students, faculty and staff of the University of the District of Columbia.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a mutual commitment between a farm and a community of supporters that provides a direct link between the production and consumption of food. Supporters cover an integral part of a farm's yearly operating budget by purchasing a share of the seasonal harvest before it is grown. CSA members make a commitment to support the farm throughout the season. Members payment help cover costs for seeds, water, equipment maintenance, labor, etc. In return, the farm commits to providing a consistent supply of high quality vegetables each week throughout the growing season. At Firebird Farm, our goal is to grow and deliver a combination of vegetables and herbs valued at $30 each week, which is an additional 15% over what you pay.

In addition, we also recognize that smaller families may not have the same needs as large families or people sharing produce. Our full-shares will feed up to 6 people on average per week, or 3-4 people who love veggies. We are now offering half-shares, which will feed up to 4 people on average per week or 1-2 people who love veggies.

The Institute of Gerontology Honors Senior Volunteers

On May 18, 2016, the Institute of Gerontology (IOG) of the University of the District of Columbia hosted the 36th Annual Senior Volunteer Recognition Day in celebration of Older Americans Month. The keynote address was delivered by University President Ronald Mason.

"I've noticed that most elders are optimists. If you hang around and listen, you can hear the funniest things sometimes,” President Mason addressed the audience before sharing a number of humorous anecdotes involving the seniors in his life. “You don't stop laughing because you get old; you grow old because you stop laughing. So keep laughing, stay young and enjoy your life."

The event honors and thank the 89 volunteers, who devote thousands of hours each year toward meeting the needs of the District’s growing population of senior residents. The Institute’s signature programs which include the Senior Companion Volunteer Program, the Respite Aide Volunteer Program, the Senior Tuition Program and the Bodywise Senior Exercise Program, collectively provide service to over 6,500 older residents of the District of Columbia.

UDC Farmers Market season starts May 28!

The UDC CAUSES Farmers Market season is here! Join us on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at 4340 Connecticut Ave., NW, in front of the David A. Clarke School of Law to buy fresh fruit, veggies, flowers and more! And with us again for the sixth year are produce vendors with the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association.

New this year, we are now participating in the Produce Plus program. Produce Plus is a locally-funded incentive program designed to increase access to healthy and nutritious food options for income-eligible District residents, promoting farmers markets to improve public health. 

See you on Saturday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Biophilic Cities Lecture and Award Ceremony

by Carilyne Vance

On May 23, 2016, CAUSES hosted the Biophilic Cities Lecture and Awards Ceremony in the University of the District of Columbia Student Center. Recognizing that human health and happiness are tied to our natural environment, the Biophilic Cities organization strives to bring together elements of nature and urban design. Organized under the guidance of University of Virginia School of Architecture Professor Tim Beatley, it focuses on devising best practices for creating and including elements of the natural environment into urban development. In his book Biophilic Cities, Professor Beatley explores the importance of human interaction with nature and a number of ways to measure the degree to which daily human activity – especially in an urban setting, satisfies this need. 

Save the Date: 4-H Reunion

Are you an alum of the 4-H program? Even if you are not native to D.C., as a transient area, people from all over the nation reside in DC. So no matter where you grew up, if you were a member of 4-H, join us for a 4-H reunion event on Friday, August 26! 

Email for more information or contact Rebecca Bankhead, director, Center for 4-H and Youth Development.

CAUSES Student Honors

by Carilyne Vance

On Friday, May 6, 2016, CAUSES hosted its fourth annual Honors and Awards Convocation, commemorating the academic achievements of our students. The evening featured remarks by Dr. Rachel Petty, Chief Academic Officer, University of the District of Columbia and a keynote address by Dr. Thornell Page, President and CEO of Page Research Associates, Inc. 

Dr. Page has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the area of accessible education and community development within the District. His list of achievements include the inaugural directorship of the Cooperative Extension Service at the University of the District of Columbia, a White House appointment under the Clinton Administration to serve as Deputy Director of the Office of Community Affairs and as President and CEO of the Washington Teachers Union Scholarship Fund. 

Continue reading for a list of honored students.


Here's what's been happening around CAUSES:

  • UDC green roof part of Smithsonian tour
  • Amanda Tai and Ashley Grant join CAUSES

UDC green roof part of Smithsonian tour
For the second year in a row, we were a featured stop on the Smithsonian Green Roof tour! More than 40 visitors had a chance to tour and take pictures of our award-winning roof.....until the sky opened up! See more photos of our green roof--which is coming along nicely thanks to a rainy May--on Flickr.

Amanda Tai and Ashley Grant join CAUSES
Amanda Tai has joined CAUSES as the new Assessment and Volunteer Coordinator. She brings her extensive background in environmental research and client-based work to help develop innovative approaches to CAUSES assessment and volunteer programs. Prior to joining CAUSES, Amanda worked for American Forests, a nonprofit in DC, as the Public Policy and Urban Forests Program Manager. There, she helped develop several initiatives to protect and restore urban and rural forests. Most recently, she developed her client-relationship-building skills through a variety of experiences as a pet-caretaker, a personal trainer, and a softball coach. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from Wellesley College.

We would also like to welcome Ashley Grant as our our new Staff Assistant for Administrative Services. The native Washingtonian is an accounting major from Howard University. Before coming to UDC, Ashley worked with the Department of Veterans Affairs Administration, dedicating her time to assist veterans and their needs for 8 years. While there, she received merit awards for work recognition and maintaining a positive attitude.  Although her passion for her profession is always strong, she continuously makes time to explore new ideas, new findings as well as enjoying the simpler things in life.  Aside from everything else, Ashley enjoys reading, the art of music, shopping, fitness, and anything else that may catch her eye.  She’s always pleasant, loves to smile, laugh and enjoys helping others. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

East Capitol Urban Farm & Food Hub is Officially Open!

On Saturday, May 21, 2016, the weather could not deter partners, friends and neighbors from coming together to celebrate the spring launch of East Capitol Urban Farm & Food Hub - a national model for temporary use of vacant lots, fresh food access, and community education. Pioneered by the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), our Urban Food Hubs seek 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:
  • Promotes urban agriculture
  • Improves food access and nutrition through a community-centered farmers market & aquaponics system
  • Offers nutrition education through youth engagement
  • Provides community gardening plots
  • Creates opportunities for entrepreneurship
“This farm shows our community, our city, and the rest of the world how to eat healthy, grow food where you wouldn't believe food could grow, and to educate,” said Tommy Wells, director, District Department of Energy and Environment during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I'm proud that through this partnership that we can do something that special in the nation's capital,” he continued.

Officially the District’s largest urban farm, East Capitol Urban Farm (ECUF) was a vacant three-acre parcel of land less than a year ago. The challenge and opportunity was to develop the site as a model for temporary use of vacant lots while demonstrating on-site stormwater management and local food production. Now, the site features community garden space, a demonstration area, exercise trails, a nature discovery area, public art, rain and pollinator gardens, a market place and an aquaponics facility that will produce sustainable fish and produce for Ward 7, which has been identified as a food desert in the District of Columbia. 

ISEE 2016: Transforming the Economy - Sustaining Food, Water, Energy and Justice

CAUSES will host the 2016 Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE), June 26-29, 2016. The conference, Transforming the Economy: Sustaining Food, Water, Energy and Justice, will bring together more than 500 policy makers, researchers, and citizens committed to advancing tangible solutions for a sustainable and resilient economy.

As the science of sustainability, ecological economics must advance the transformation of the economy to support rather than debilitate the processes that sustain our living planet. Such a transformed economy supports the resilience of our planet and its life support systems rather than undermining it. This has implications for both local and global decision making, and for urban and rural communities. ISEE 2016 will focus on these critical themes, facilitating the dialogue between practitioners and researchers to advance such an economic transformation with an agenda that includes tangible solutions that support an economy that is in sync with the biological and physical systems of our planet and builds capacity for human well-being and justice. 

Registration for the conference is open. Plenary speakers for ISEE include:
  • Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet and Director of the Small Planet Institute
  • Marina Silva, former Minister of Environment, Brazil
  • Jairam Ramesh, former Minister of Environment
  • Dr. Renato Maluf, President Emeritus, Food Policy Council of Brazil, and Professor, Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Kanchan Chopra, former Director and Professor, Institute of Economic Growth in Delhi, India
  • Mokgadi Monamati, Senior Natural Resources Specialist of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Industry of Botswana
  • Dr. Shi Yan, President of Shared Harvest, and founder of the Community Supported Agriculture movement in Beijing, China
  • Dr. Arild Vatn, Professor, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Oslo
  • Dr. Peter I. May, Senior Scientist, Biohabitats Inc. and University of Maryland, Dept. of Environmental Science

Monday, May 23, 2016

Brazilian exchange students to work with CAUSES for the summer

Viva Brasil! This summer, we have the pleasure of hosting students from the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program, which is part of the Brazilian government's initiative to grant 100,000 Brazilian university students the opportunity to study abroad. Formerly know as Brazil Science Without Borders, BSMP provides scholarships to students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. After completion of an academic year including a summer internship, students return to Brazil to complete their degrees. The program is sponsored by CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior), an organization within the Brazilian Ministry of Education and CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico), an organization within the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology. Learn more about BSMP here.

The students will be working with the Center for Sustainable Development under the direction of Dr. Dwane Jones, and will be conducting sustainability and urban agriculture research projects at East Capitol Urban Farm, Firebird Farm and the UDC green roof. They will be with us on a full-time basis before returning to Brazil in early August. 

Continue reading for student profiles:

Partner Spotlight: Groundwork Anacostia

Groundwork Anacostia River DC is an organization dedicated to the communities neighboring the Anacostia River and surrounding watershed, using environmental restoration as a means for community development. By caring for the Anacostia, local parks and other environmental assets, the Ward 7 organization seeks to reclaim vacant land for "conservation, recreation and economic development."

Groundwork Anacostia recently launched a workforce development program with the River Terrace Education Campus. The program provides green industry skills training to special needs young adults. Not only is the group is a regular at the nearby East Capitol Urban Farm, helping us prepare the farm to serve the residents of Ward 7, they are also regulars on our Van Ness campus, helping out on our green roof, greenhouse and the Garden of the Senses. River Terrace is also participating in a six week healthy cooking course taught by Chef Tyrome "T" Henson from the CAUSES Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health, in our new state of the art nutrition lab.  

Monday, May 16, 2016

East Capitol Urban Farm Spring Launch Schedule

East Capitol Urban Farm

5901 East Capitol Street NE DC 
(directly across from the Capitol Heights metro station) 
Saturday, May 21, 2016, 9:00 a.m. -1:30 p.m.

9:00 a.m.

East Capitol Urban Farm Activities 
Planting demonstrations, education, activities and information sharing

Welcome, Remarks, Ribbon-­Cutting & Public Art Dedication Ceremony:  

Sabine O'Hara, UDC CAUSES (MC)
Muriel Bowser, Mayor (invited)
Ronald Mason, President, UDC
Tommy Wells, Director, DOEE
Adrianne Todman, Director, DCHA
Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, Director, USDA NIFA
Yvette Alexander, Councilwoman (invited)
Linda Holmes, ANC 7E07

Ribbon-­cuttings and Dedication:

 Aquaponics System - Thomas Kakovitch, CEO Kakovitch Industries
Food Truck - Lillie Monroe-­Lord, Dwane Jones, UDC CAUSES
Public Art Dedication: Arthur Espinoza, Tonya Jordan, DCCAH

12:30 p.m. 
Farmers Market, demonstrations, educational opportunities, and information sharing

1:30 p.m. 

Exhibitors & Vendors:

National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association
Screening Health, Outreach and Partnershil (SoilSHOP) EPA and ATSDR & UDC’s Water Resources Research Institute 
DC Department of Energy & Environment
Metropolitan United Methodist Church
Prince George's County, MD, Dept. of Health
Prince George's County, MD, Department of the Environment
Prince George's County, MD, Master Gardeners
UDC CAUSES Center for Sustainable Development
UDC CAUSES Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health
UDC CAUSES Institute of Gerontology
UDC CAUSES Center for 4-H and Youth Development
UDC CAUSES Center for Urban Agriculture & Gardening Education
U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife Service

Music provided by East of the River Steel Band

Contact: Dwane Jones, Director, Center for Sustainable Development (UDC CAUSES), or 202-­274-­7182

CAUSES TV: Farmers Market and Community Gardens

On this episode of  CAUSES TV, Gus Schumacher, president of Wholesome Wave and former Undersecretary of Agriculture in the Clinton Administration, and Dalila Boclin, Food Access and Outreach Manager of Community Foodworks, join Dean O'Hara to discuss local food, farmers markets and community gardens.

Washington,D.C., is in fact well on its way to becoming one of the greenest cities in the country; a city that loves locally grown food; a city that values it local markets and its community gardens. Washington, D.C., has a substantial number of organizations that deal with local food, urban agriculture, and healthy eating. And community gardens and farmers markets are a local food initiatives and urban agriculture is a big focus here in the District of Columbia. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Washington CityPaper voted us best roof!

Washington CityPaper staff voted our green roof as Best Roof in their Best of D.C. edition! They write:

Best Roof
UDC Green Roof
Building 44, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW 

The University of the District of Columbia may be located in the District of Columbia (see: a city), but its College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences is preparing students to bring the traditionally rural practice of farming to urban centers. While its research farm in Beltsville is by far its largest training ground, UDC’s green roof on a building at its Van Ness campus is in some ways more important. It takes the sustainable techniques learned at the Maryland site and right-sizes them for an urban environment. Graduate students with Urban Agriculture and Urban Sustainability concentrations, as well as participants in the Master Gardener program offered by the Center for Urban Agriculture & Gardening Education, use the green roof as a classroom and lab. It’s also the largest green roof in the District, paving the way for more green roofs that will produce more healthy food that can reach more people.

Thanks, City Paper staff!