Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience:

Officially the District’s largest urban farm, the East Capitol Urban Farm (ECUF) is a national model for temporary use of vacant lots, local food production, fresh food access, community education and on-site storm water management.  The site features a community garden space, a demonstration area, exercise trails, a nature discovery area, public art, rain, and pollinator gardens.  Its’ market place and aquaponics facility seek to improve food security and sustainability in Ward 7,  which has been identified as a food desert in the District of Columbia, through food production, food preparation, food distribution, and waste and water management. 

 “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,” Wells continued.

The 11th Street Bridge Park project, located between the Washington Navy Yard and the National Park Service’s Anacostia Park, is a re-utilization of the old 11th Street river bridges that connect Washington, DC’s Capitol Hill and historic Anacostia neighborhoods.  This project is a partnership between the District government and the local nonprofit organization, Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC.  It’s goal is to transform the aged infrastructure into the city’s first elevated park and a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education and the arts.  With plenty of green space for recreational activities, pedestrian and bicycle routes, this project will encompass existing river-walk trails to create an iconic architectural symbol across the Anacostia River that supports the community’s physical, environmental and economic health.  Through this project, the Center was able to certify over one hundred project participant “pop-up” gardens, held education workshops in aquaponics and hydroponics and have harvested over 750 pounds of fresh food.  This project is positioned to bring equity in home ownership, access to fresh and nutritious foods and build stronger communities to the residents of Ward 8 through partnerships with several agencies such as the Anacostia Arts Center, ArtReach at THEARC, Capitol Riverfront BID, the Phillips Collection, the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum, Ward 8 Arts & Culture Council, We Act Radio and UDC’s Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience. 

The Center has partnered with the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP); a consortium comprised of the Water Environment Federation, DC Water and national organizations such as the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Capitol Region Water and the Baltimore City Department of Public Works, to bring job training to over forty District residents from across the city. “Initiated under the leadership of DC Water and the Water Environment Federation, the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP) sets national certification standards for green infrastructure (GI) construction, inspection, and maintenance workers. Designed to meet international best practice standards, the certification advances the establishment of sustainable communities by promoting GI as an environmentally and economically beneficial storm-water management option, supporting the development of proficient green workforces, and establishing a career path for skilled GI workers. “   This program offered stipend-based exam preparation for jobs in the green infrastructure construction, inspection and maintenance industries. 

In addition to those outstanding projects, the Center unveiled the University’s first educational Food Truck, Commercial Kitchen and partnered with the District’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) on several initiatives.  The Food Truck travels across the District to distribute recipes for and samples of healthy, easy to prepare foods.  The commercial kitchen serves as the backdrop for the Center for Nutrition Diet and Health’s Professional Food Handlers Certification program and will eventually be utilized as an incubator site for local food-based businesses.   Through the DOEE, the Center participated in the Green Zone Environmental Program and the DOEE Tree Summit.  Both programs improve the lives of District residents through education on energy and environmental issues such as rain gardens, storm water management practices and the importance of native trees as a way of creating a more diverse ecosystem, improving air quality, and increasing property values. 

UDC Food Truck

Chef Herb in the CAUSES Commercial Kitchen 
For more information on the Center of Sustainable Development and Resilience, please visit