CAUSES In Action | Spring 2023


ICYMI: UDC-CAUSES Celebrated Earth Day during Land-grant Open House at East Capitol Urban Research Farm

UDC-CAUSES welcomed its stakeholders, including high school students, federal agencies, partners in community-based non-profit organizations, UDC faculty and students, and DC residents to an Earth Day Celebration and Land-grant Open House on Thursday, April 27th. Participants were introduced to research projects, training, and certificate offerings, along with demonstrations of new technologies, which can improve the quality of life. Tours of the East Capitol Urban Research Farm were conducted, highlighting the Urban Food Hub Model, which is designed to enhance global food and nutritional security while combating climate change. Contact us to learn about our land-grant programs!

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Your support is needed to advance faculty research and to continue our legacy of academic excellence and innovation.

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Newly Released

A Must Read: Are Food Hubs Sustainable? An Analysis of Social and Environmental Objectives of U.S. Food Hubs by Haniyeh Shariatmadary, Sabine O’Hara, Rebecca Graham, and Marian Stuiver

 Haniyeh Shariatmadary is a doctoral candidate in the Ph.D. in Urban Leadership and Entrepreneurship program. She is also the lead author of an article published in the journal Sustainability. Haniyeh joins the long list of scholarly authors in this well-respected journal, which is an international, cross-disciplinary, peer-reviewed and open access journal of environmental, cultural, economic, and social sustainability of human beings. 

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Richardson and Campbell Participate in White House Forum on Campus and Community-Scale Climate Change Solutions

On March 8, 2023, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the University of Washington convened U.S. Government officials with climate, sustainability, and resilience leaders and educators from colleges and universities nationwide for the Campus and Community-Scale: Climate Change Solutions Forum. The forum brought together more than 800 people - including representatives from universities and colleges from 48 states and the District of Columbia. Sustainability leaders from 65 universities, three professional associations, and multiple federal agencies participated in the forum in person.

During the event, Dr. Matthew Richardson, Acting Director of the Center for Urban Research, Engagement, and Scholarship (CURES), served as a panelist. The topic of the panel was Accelerating Community Climate Solutions through Higher Education Partnerships. Jacob Campbell, Program Associate for Project Based Learning, also participated in the forum in person and enjoyed sharing insights with other attendees about the climate change efforts of UDC-CAUSES. 

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Student Spotlight

Ph.D. Student Emi Kameyama Publishes Report for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Emi Kameyama, a program officer for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), was one of the NASEM staff members responsible for a recent publication entitled, Operationalizing Sustainable Development to Benefit People and the Planet. Emi is a student in the Ph.D. for Urban Leadership and Entrepreneurship program. Dr. Sabine O’Hara, Director of the Ph.D. for Urban Leadership and Entrepreneurship program, served as an expert contributor for the report. 

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Course Instructor:

Paul Brown

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Calling All Food Managers: ServSafe Food Protection Manager Course

The UDC ServSafe Food Protection Manager certification is recognized by federal, state, and local jurisdictions more than any other food safety certification! The certification helps food service managers enforce critical food safety practices in establishments with every meal served. 

The UDC ServSafe Food Protection Manager course ensures that you:

  • Protect the public's health and safety in your food service establishment.
  • Understand current food safety policies and procedures.
  • Implement effective employee training programs.
  • Keep your operation in compliance with all applicable public health regulations.


Whether you are a recent graduate or a skilled industry professional, we welcome you to share your expertise and skills in CAUSES, as we work to recruit and grow our next generation of talent!

We are committed to building a diverse group of leaders and experts within our organization. We aim to create a culture for professionals to thrive.

Our college provides an opportunity to leverage the power of your degree with real career momentum. We offer web-based, on-the-job training, mentor support, and extensive networking opportunities to help you achieve success.

We invite you to apply for an opportunity best suited for you and your future!

Apply Here

Staff Spotlight

Dr. Matthew Richardson Presents at 6th Annual Maryland Urban Farmer Winter Meeting

Dr. Matthew Richardson presented at this year’s Maryland Urban Farmer Winter Meeting, a professional development event for farmers in urban areas of Maryland organized by the University of Maryland Extension. Dr. Richardson provided an overview of UDC-CAUSES, urban agricultural research within the Center for Urban Research Education and Scholarships, and ways to connect with UDC-CAUSES. Caitlin Arlotta (Research Associate) and Mamatha Hanumappa (Project Specialist, Specialty and Ethnic Crops) were co-authors of the presentation.

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Mchezaji Axum Represents UDC-CAUSES in Reciprocal Exchange Project in Penang, Malaysia

The Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative Professional Fellows Program (YSEALI PFP) is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by American Councils for International Education. The YSEALI PFP allows young professionals to develop leadership and professional skills through tailored professional exchanges. In addition, the Reciprocal Exchange Project allows select American professionals to visit Southeast Asia to enhance further networking, support, and knowledge sharing with YSEALI PFP alums in their home communities. Each U.S. Fellow selected for a YSEALI PFP Reciprocal Exchange Project is approved by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in Washington, DC, and the United States Embassy’s Public Diplomacy Section in the respective country.


In March, 2023, Mchezaji (Che) Axum, Director of the Center for Urban Agriculture and Gardening Education, participated in a YSEALI PFP Reciprocal Exchange Project for two weeks in Penang, Malaysia. While there, Che participated in training sessions focused on various topics including liquid composting, plant boosters, and mini fertigation. He also had the opportunity to visit historical sites, and to try some of Penang’s famous cultural food. The U.S. Department of State fully funded Che’s trip. 

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Partnership in Progress: USDA and UDC-CAUSES to Develop Resources for Washington, D.C.’s Local Food System

Through the People’s Garden Initiative, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production is planning to work with partners to develop a series of resources that model the local food system in Washington, DC. The objective is to use the system/partnerships in DC between local government, nonprofits, federal government, extension, and other stakeholders can be used as an example for other communities to learn what is a local food system; how it impacts them; how they engage with it in their own community; and how USDA can help them.   

For more information, please contact: Nina Bhattacharyya at

CAUSES in the Community

UDC-CAUSES Hosts First Annual Appreciation Event for Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists

On Saturday, March 18, 2023, the UDC-CAUSES Master Gardener Coordinator, Ali Schneiderman, UDC-CAUSES Master Naturalist Coordinator, Elizabeth Gearin, and UDC-CAUSES Volunteer Coordinator, Michele Bassler, welcomed 27 Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists to UDC’s Van Ness campus for a morning of celebration, recognition, and networking. Some of the Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists who participated in the event are certified and have been active in the programs for more than 10 years, while others in attendance just recently finished the courses and are completing the volunteer hours required to become certified. During the event, the volunteer hours that these individuals have completed all over the District of Columbia in school gardens, at UDC’s food hubs, and with partner organizations like the U.S. National Arboretum and Department of Public Recreation were acknowledged. In addition, Ronnie Webb, President and Co-Founder of Green Scheme, gave an inspirational presentation on his work to educate disadvantaged communities on environmental stewardship and community revitalization. He also emphasized the importance of the work that the Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists do in the District. 

To learn more about the Master Gardener program offered through UDC-CAUSES, visit here.

To learn more about the Master Naturalist program offered through UDC-CAUSES, visit here.

To learn more about how to volunteer with UDC-CAUSES, visit here.

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Calling All Volunteers: To register as a volunteer, please fill out the Volunteer Application FormUse this link to create your account in Golden Volunteer, which is CAUSES’ volunteer management system. Golden Volunteer is a fun and simple way to locate and register for volunteer opportunities, as well as to easily log and track your volunteer hours.

If you have questions or would like to schedule a volunteer day for your group, please contact Michele Bassler at


Welcome to the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, & Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). UDC is the only urban land-grant university in the nation. CAUSES was formed in 2010 as the University’s land-grant college.

We engage in applied teaching and research that helps to improve the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of the District of Columbia and others around the world through traditional academic degrees and through non-degree, non-credit bearing, skills-building programs, such as green infrastructure and urban agriculture.

CAUSES is unique in its organizational structure and its mission: an interdisciplinary college where academic programs such as architecture, urban sustainability, health education, nutrition and dietetics, and nursing train a forward-thinking generation of professionals who will ensure that the world has “Healthy Cities–Healthy People.” The College houses the only doctoral-level program in the nation that focuses on urban leadership and entrepreneurship.

For more information or inquiries, feel free to contact us at

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About the University of the District of Columbia  

As an HBCU, an urban land-grant institution, and the only public university in the nation’s capital, the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is committed to a broad mission of education, research, and community service. Established by abolitionist Myrtilla Miner in 1851, the University offers Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees, along with a host of workforce development and continuing education certifications for student success, professional growth, and economic advancement. The University is comprised of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences; College of Arts and Sciences; School of Business and Public Administration; School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; UDC Community College; and the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law. To learn more, visit

The University of the District of Columbia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution. Minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. The University prohibits discrimination or harassment against any person on the basis of the actual or perceived actual race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, marital status, personal appearance, genetic information, familial status, source of income, status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, place of residence or business, or status as a covered veteran, as provided for and to the extent required by District and Federal statutes and regulations. For a full version of the University’s EO Policy Statement, please visit: University of the District of Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 1007 North Orange Street, 4th Floor, MB #166, Wilmington, DE 19801, 267-284-5011.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, familial/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, this information is available in languages other than English. To file a complaint alleging discrimination, please complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD- 3027, found online at, or at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to US Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. Submit your completed letter or form to USDA via fax: (202) 690-7442; or email: To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.