The University of the District of Columbia is a land-grant institution, which is another way of saying it focuses on “practical” subjects (as opposed to the liberal arts) such as engineering – and agriculture. UDC is the only land-grant university in the country focused on the practice of urban agriculture – which includes indoor farming.
In early February, WAMU’s Diane Rehm Show called on Dean Sabine O’Hara of UDC’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Studies (CAUSES) to discuss indoor urban farming. You can listen here.
O’Hara has the last word on whether this type of farming is a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly means of feeding a city. No single strategy, she says, will work and be economical for all situations. Just as in conventional farming, a variety of methods and crops are required to meet the needs of our increasingly urbanized world.
Since the show aired, CAUSES marketing and communications manager Leslie Malone has written us with an update:
UDC will soon offer some of the agriculture and sustainable techniques discussed on The Diane Rehm Show in two new academic programs. The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) Degree is a graduate degree designed to allow students to pursue advanced math and science skills, an attractive aspect that today’s science-based employers who want professionals with this specific expertise, in addition to business and project management skills.
New this year, the Professional Science Masters (PSM) in Water Resources Management has expanded to offer additional concentrations in Urban Agriculture and Urban Sustainability, the first of their kind in D.C. The new academic offerings are due in part to the success of the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certification Program [non-academic], which CAUSES has offered since 2014. The land-grant programs are closely involved in working with the DC Government to implement initiatives in alignment with the Sustainable DC Plan (for which CAUSES was recently recognized). More information on the PSM degree is available here.