Friday, July 29, 2016

Dates announced for the Sustainable Urban Ag Certificate Program

In 2008, for the first time in recorded history, the world's population became primarily urban. Some urban areas are growing at twice the rate of rural areas. While DC is not growing as rapidly, its population continues to increase. This trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. CAUSES is uniquely positioned as a world-leader in the Urban Ag movement through our Research, Academic, and Outreach programs. In response, we launched a non-credit bearing certificate program in Sustainable Agriculture in 2014. 

The Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate, which begins September 12, 2016, consists of three classes (1 prerequisite course + (Option 1 or Option 2). The program offers two different options:

  • Option 1: Urban Agriculture Techniques
  • Option 2: Business Principles in Urban Agriculture

Classes meet twice per week in the evenings or once on the weekend. A certificate of completion will be issued at the successful completion of each class. 

To receive a certificate in Sustainable Urban Agriculture, participants will pay a one-time fee of $200. If a participant wishes to take individual classes, the cost is $60 per class. Payment must be made at the time of the first class, by check to the University of the District of Columbia.

Continue reading for a description of the classes.

East Capitol Farm selected for Urban Waters tour

The Urban Waters Federal Partnership selected East Capitol Urban Farm as one of the optional tours for their 2016 National Training Workshop. The site was selected as a showcase model for the Urban Waters network. Spearheaded by the Environmental Protection Agency, the partnership facilitates coordination and collaboration between federal agencies and organizations  to improve economically disadvantaged urban communities and their waterways. The partnership is comprised of 13 federal agencies and a number of NGOs. Participating partnership federal agencies include:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

SNAP Education at the Farm

The Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health (CNDH) invited the DC Department of Health's (DOH) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program (SNAP-Ed) to Beltsville for a day at the farm. SNAP-Ed, which seeks seek to increase healthy food and active lifestyle choices among District residents, provides education programs, behavior-change initiatives, and social marketing campaigns designed for individuals receiving or eligible for SNAP. 

"DOH meets quarterly with it's SNAP-Ed implementing agencies," explained Dr. Lillie Monroe-Lord, director of the UDC CNDH program. We decided to host this quarter's at the farm because of the relationship between agriculture and nutrition and the impact on families." 

The activity allows SNAP-Ed participants to see how much fat is in a typical
fast food meal using vegetable shortening.

USDA Open Data STEAM Camp Visits UDC

Students with the USDA Open Data STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math) Camp visited the UDC campus as part of their camp research projects.  Launched last year, the free summer camp allows students to learn about open data through various USDA-related initiatives. This year, students are creating projects based on USDA data in the areas of Urban Agriculture, Urban Forestry, and Food Safety. 

The youth, ages 13-18, toured the UDC CAUSES green roof, the Urban Architecture and Community Development studio and participated in a cooking demonstration (and taste test) 
in our new teaching kitchen with Chef Herb Holden of the Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health. The tour ended with a data set presentation by Dr. Xiaochu Hu, Project Specialist for Applied Economic Evaluation, Center for Sustainable Development.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

East Capitol Farm in the News

East Capitol Urban Farm has been in the news this week, garnering mentions in the New York Times and in FCW: The Business of Federal Technology!

New York Times  |   Washington: The Ideal Place to Grow Older

"There has also been a focus on new park programs aimed at residents 50 and older, such as neighborhood walks, tai chi in the park and more community gardens.

One effort is the East Capitol Urban Farm, a planned transformation of a vacant three-acre plot in Ward 7 into a new urban farm. Partners include the University of the District of Columbia and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities."

Read the full article!

FCW  |  A new face of interagency collaboration

"One final observation that might apply to other cross-agency programmatic collaborations is that the partnership's participants are entrepreneurial in the sense that they actively explore their environment for opportunities not already being exploited. Many projects begin with a narrow focus and then accumulate new purposes over time. Thus, the East Capitol Urban Farm in Washington's Anacostia neighborhood started when Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service and EPA became concerned about a water quality issue, namely that impoverished people in the neighborhood were catching and eating contaminated fish from the Anacostia River."

Continue reading at FCW!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Building "Bridge Park Plots" in Wards 6 and 8

The Center for Sustainable Development has partnered with Bridge Park to design and build urban garden plots in Wards 6 and 8 of the District. Known as Bridge Park Plots, the gardens are all being constructed in partnership with faith-based and local arts organizations, in anticipation for the 11th Street Bridge Park, which is scheduled to open in 2019. 

Bridge Park will connect Ward 6 Capitol Hill and Southwest Waterfront to Ward 8 Anacostia and Fairlawn Neighborhoods. The gardens will serve as social and cultural hubs for residents and congregants offering the chance for participants to grow food, faith, fellowship, and finance. The locations of Bridge Park Plots are:

Union Temple Baptist Church
1225 W Street Southeast

Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative
165 Mississippi Ave. Southeast

Bethel Christian Fellowship
2220 MLK Ave. Southeast

Washington School for Girls
164 Morris Rd. Southeast

 National Community Church
8th and Virginia Ave. Southeast

For more information on the project, contact Dr. Ashley Milton at

Thursday, July 7, 2016

ISEE Wrap Up

UDC CAUSES hosted the 2016 Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE), Transforming the Economy: Sustaining Food, Water, Energy and Justice, June 26-29, 2016. ISEE brought together an international coalition of researchers, policy makers, practitioners and renowned speakers focused on finding solutions for a socially and environmentally sustainable future.

Diet for a Small Planet author Frances Moore Lappe’ was joined by DOEE Director Tommy Wells for a celebration of sustainable communities. Prof. Kanchan Chopra, former director of the Institute of Economic Growth in Delhi, India, and Dr. Arild Vatn, an institutional economist from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences were named the 2016 recipients of the Kenneth Boulding Award.

Prior to the start of ISEE a group of researchers gathered to discuss research programs in urban agriculture and sustainability, research priorities and collaboration in the northeast region. The researchers also took a tour of the Van Ness and East Capitol Urban Food Hubs. 

See photos and read more about the conference:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

CAUSES TV: Community Education through Cooperative Extension

Joining Dr. O'Hara on this edition of CAUSES TV is Dr. Thornell Page, her predecessor at the University of the District of Columbia as Director of Cooperative Extension Services. C-A-U-S-E-S, stands for College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, and we are the Landgrant College of the University of the District of Columbia. As a landgrant university, we have a dual mission. 

One, to offer academic programs for our degree seeking students; Second, to offer workforce development programs, certifications, training workshops and community education programs on diverse topics like urban agriculture, food safety and sanitation, nutrition and health, various how-to and entrepreneurial training programs. These kinds of programs do not earn academic credit, but they improve skills and knowledge that help to improve the quality of life and economic opportunity in a city or community. In CAUSES, these skill and capacity building programs are call “community outreach programs.” Learn more on this episode of CAUSES TV.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Nobel Prize for Ecological Economics?

By Maria Grace Hutapea, CAUSES Intern

ISEE 2016 Roundtable: How to Win a Nobel Prize for Ecological Economics. 
Speakers: Peter May, ECOECO Brazil; Clovis Cavalcanti, ISEE President Elect; Sabine O’Hara, ISEE President

Winning the Nobel Prize is no doubt the most prestigious international award for global achievement. While the selection process often drawn criticism due to its political intention, the prize continues to be regarded as the supreme commendation in the world that inspires humankind to strive to fulfill their potential. In the wake of severe economic problems that partly caused by climate change and global warming, the pressure to create a Nobel Prize for Ecological Economics are increased as many hopes that it would influence the world’s economic and political decisions towards ecology and environment protection, especially in the third world countries.         

During the roundtable discussion at the 2016 Conference for the International of Ecological Economics (ISEE), Clovis Cavalcanti, ISEE President Elect, emphasized the need for sustainability in economic development, “There is no society without an ecological system as there can be an environment without society.”

Green economy remains a challenge in developing countries

By Maria Grace Hutapea, CAUSES Intern

ISEE 2016 Plenary: The Food Water Energy Justice Nexus
Environmental issues remains a challenge in developing countries as the governments are more focused on economic growth while putting the environment at risk. That is especially true for developing countries, especially the poorest, where the need to enhance economic performance has often resulted in environmental degradation. In other words, halting environmental pollution may undermine economic growth.
Most of the developing countries are highly dependable to their natural resources. In order to achieve their goals to improve the standard living of their citizens, these countries opt for cheap energy for all. Not only does that result in job creation and development, but it also attracts a large amount of foreign direct investment. Marina Silva, former Environmental Minister of Brazil, linked this phenomena to a political system that has been designed in favor to the private sectors. She argues that politics has become very implicit when it comes to environmental problems.
Minister Ramesh (l) and Minister Silva (r) 
“Politicians nowadays are very quick to make changes necessary, but not to change the system,” said Silva. This is why to maintain its economic growth, poor countries are following the energy intensive model.