Progress 09/01/11 to 08/31/12
OUTPUTS: Major outputs include: 1)Design of Urban Agriculture concentrations within Geography and Biology majors. 2)Development of mini-grant RFP. 3)Development of South Side Urban Agriculture Initiative team, with assistance by City Colleges of Chicago; Growing Power; Black Oaks; and God's Gang. Goal: to develop a South Side Urban Agriculture educational network. 4)Intensification of evaluation relationship with DePaul Egan Center. Meeting held with minigrant recipients and network to develop network priorities. 5)CURAEE on-campus collaboration further developed by teaming South Side Urban Agriculture Initiative grant team and Biology-led Dept. of Education grant team that is working to develop CSU's aquaponics center. 6)Monthly meetings of Roseland-Pullman Urban Agriculture Network continue, with a speakers including grant consultants. 7) New curriculum presented at Agriculture, Food, and Human Values annual meeting, New York University, "If We Built it Will They Come Creating an Urban Agriculture Program and Fostering Community at an Inner-City, Predominately African-American University." PARTICIPANTS: At Chicago State, the key personnel included Daniel Block, the project PI, who oversaw the development of the Geography/Biology Urban Agriculture curriculum, led the creation of the minigrant RFP, worked to implement the contracts with the project consultants, and coordinated South Side Urban Agriculture Network development and meetings. Dr. Block teamed on campus with a number of individuals, including Biology chair, Dr. Juanita Sharpe, Arts and Sciences Dean Dr. David Kanis, as well as faculty from Biology and Geography, including Drs. Karel Jacobs, Ache Gana, and Andrew Masaeli from Biology and Drs. Arthur Redman and Louis McFarland from Sociology and Emmanuel Pratt, who is also aquaponics director. This team also became the committee that judged the minigrants. Emmanuel Pratt was also important in helping lead the connection to the aquaponics center itself. Off campus, the main accomplishment of this year was building the connections within Chicago South Side Urban Agriculture Network. Project partners Growing Power, through Chicago director Erika Allen, Black Oaks, through director Fred Carter, and God's Gang, through director Carolyn Johnson, assisted in this development, and are currently helping develop a series of trainings for the first half of 2013. Fred Carter presented a lecture Urban Agriculture education through examples at Black Oaks. DePaul evaluator Nadya Engler is an active partner, who is working with the team to develop goals and needs for the network, as well as evaluate its effectiveness. All of the eight mini-grant awardees have attended network meetings and four are regular attendees. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences can be divided into on-campus and off-campus. On campus, the goal of the project is to put in place a new urban agriculture curriculum that is inspired by (and utilizes) Chicago State's aquaponics center, as well its strong community orientation. In order to do this, we need to target faculty in Geography and Biology and related fields who might take part in or support the curriculum. Support is particularly important in terms of getting the curriculum, which is new to Chicago State, passed by relevant committees on campus. This has been accomplished in Geography and is in process in Biology. The merging of this process with the Dept of Education grant supporting aquaponics is important because it supports brings in a wider group of scientists from the Biology Department in particular and has widened the knowledge of the possible benefits of the program to the university of the urban agriculture curriculum. Chicago State is a Predominantly Black Institution, with about 85% of the students being African-American. It is also a key institution on Chicago's South Side. A key goal of the project is to increase African-American interest and participation in STEAM, through capitalizing on the increasing interest in urban agriculture on the South Side. In order for the program to succeed, CSU must become a hub of urban agriculture activity. While traditional marketing for the new program will also be used, by developing connections with off-campus community organizations, as well as being a center of urban agriculture learning for the community, it is hoped that the new program will begin to thrive. The microgrants play a key purpose here, as well as the development of workshops that will occur at CSU and at partner organizations. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: The only major change is to the timeline. Due mainly to the process of working with the Biology Department to shape the curriculum to its specific needs, the curriculum will now begin in the spring 2013 semester, with the Urban Agriculture, Food, and Sustainability class being taught in fall 2013 for the first time. Marketing for the new program will begin once the Biology curriculum passes the university curriculum committee.
Major outcomes and impacts include: 1)Approval of Geography concentration by college and university curriculum committees, publishing in current university catalog 2)Approval of new multidisciplinary (Biology and Geography)sophomore level course "Urban Agriculture, Food, and Sustainability." 3)Approval of a new capstone course for the Urban Agriculture curriculum. 3)Attendance at Growing Power's Farm Conference/Good Food for All in Milwaukee by 9 students, and 4 community partners 4)18 application for mini-grants, 8 selected, 7 awarded (1 still needs additional documentation for approval by USDA). 5)Mini-grant process helped develop South Side Urban Agriculture Initiative. Team members helped suggest policy changes supporting urban agriculture for the City of Chicago, including a "tool sharing" program and an urban agriculture incubator. The tool sharing program is planning to be adopted by grant partner Growing Power. The incubator may be adopted by the City of Chicago in team with Growing Power.
- Block D, Food systems, in A Cultural History of Food in the Modern Age, Amy Bentley, ed. Oxford, UK: Berg Publishers, 2012 (47-67).
- Block D, Chavez N, Allen E, and Ramirez D. Food Sovereignty, Urban Food Access, and Food Activism: Contemplating the Connections through Examples from Chicago. Agriculture and Human Values 2012; 29:2 (203-215).