Urban agriculture is a social movement that couples the tradition of farming with the lifestyle of an urban dweller. It is the art and process of growing crops in backyards, community gardens, rooftops, and other patches of land where it is safe and possible to harvest food. It involves cultivating the soil, planting the crop, ensuring it receives the necessary amounts of sun, nutrients, water, air, and soil, recycling any waste as compost, and treating the soil and surrounding landscape with green, environmentally friendly products to allow for future use.
Image courtesy of modernfarmer.com
The University of the District of Columbia’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences offers academic and community educational programs for students and DC residents who wish to implement urban agriculture, green sustainability, and healthy nutrition within their communities. CAUSES offers five programs, with bachelor and master degrees available, which focus on architecture and community planning, environmental science and urban sustainability, health education, nursing, and nutrition and dietetics. The curriculum emphasizes community outreach with the ultimate goal to advance the quality of life for urban residents within and without DC.
CAUSES also includes a Land-Grant Division that provides instructional courses to community members through five different centers. According to the website, “collectively the Centers offer over 2,000 programs and serve more than 150,000 participants annually.” Moreover, the Muirkirk Agricultural Experiment Station, located in Beltsville, MD, is a UDC research facility that supports the CAUSES program. For specifics of the programs, and more detailed information on the Centers, please visit the Land-Grant Division’s website.
To gain a sense of the events that take place within the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, it is worthwhile to to review the CAUSES YouTube channel, as well as the information on the CAUSES News Archives webpage. The CAUSES newsletter illustrates how UDC keeps active in the local urban farming and agriculture community. Also, take a look at the CAUSES blog to learn more about the culture of CAUSES through current students, professors, and the administration.