The University of the District of Columbia showcases an urban food hub at the East Capitol Urban Farm and helps address food security issues.
Food security will continue to be a challenge as the climate changes. The East Capitol Urban Farm is located on a once vacant lot in Ward 7 of the District of Columbia (DC). The farm is run by the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). The site now serves as an urban food hub, a concept that is being applied in many densely populated areas of DC to address food shortage issues. This is the first of many food hubs that UDC hopes to establish to reach their goal of at least one hub in each of the eight DC Wards. Many federal, district, and local organizations are partnering with UDC to help address food security.
Activities at the East Capitol Urban Farm demonstrate the four parts of a food hub: food production, preparation, distribution, and recycling. Area residents grow their own vegetables, and tilapia is produced as part of the aquaponics system on the farm. UDC staff and other partners teach classes on how to prepare and preserve food. This helps people who may not have much experience using fresh produce. On weekends, area growers come to the Farmers Market to give out their local produce to members of the community. The site also takes steps to reduce their impact on the environment by producing as little waste as possible. Water and nutrients are recycled on site, and green space at the urban farm helps to lower the urban heat island effect. As the climate continues to change, food security will likely remain an issue. Urban food hubs like the East Capitol Urban Farm can help mitigate the effects of warming temperatures and precipitation extremes.
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“The urban heat island effect simply says that in this city where we have lots of buildings, lots of apartment buildings, even really right here in this neighborhood the temperatures tend to be much warmer in the city than outside of the city. So, how we think this fits into that is that if we can increase the amount of trees, increase the amount of greenery here, we think that will help to keep this area cool in this neighborhood. ”
- Dr. Elgloria Harrison
Available resources from this tour:
- Urban Agriculture Toolkit (USDA)
- What Climate Change means for the District of Columbia(EPA)
- Reusing Potentially Contaminated Landscapes: Growing Gardens in Urban Soils (EPA)
- How Arts and Cultural Strategies Create, Reinforce, and Enhance Sense of Place
- East Capitol Urban Farm Project: A UDC Partnership Effort