Source: Chicago State University submitted to
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Sep 1, 2011
Project End Date
Aug 31, 2014
Grant Year
Project Director
Block, D. R.
Recipient Organization
Chicago State University
9501 S. King Dr.
Chicago,IL 60628
Performing Department
Neighborhood Assistance Center
Non Technical Summary
Using and further developing existing resources, Chicago State University will propose the development of two parallel tracts of study. The first will be an Urban Agriculture option within the current B.S. in Biology. The second will be an Urban Agriculture option within the current B.A. in Geography. Students in both majors will also receive strong backgrounds in Biology, Chemistry, Geography, as well as Management and Entrepreneurship. The two tracts will share a set of core courses oriented specifically around urban and global food systems. These shared courses will utilize CSU's new aquaponics center and an adjacent plot that is to be developed into an agricultural learning center and urban agriculture incubation site as teaching sites. The center and adjacent plots will also be used as sites for learning in other related courses throughout the programs, as will area farms that are current partners. This new curriculum is part of an overall effort to build Chicago State as a nexus of study and expertise in urban agriculture. The program will help further connections between CSU, two community colleges, and community youth programs. As such the program will also include continuing education workshops, the creation of models for aquaponics and other technologies for urban settings, and developing CSU's facilities as a center for a growing community of urban agriculture practitioners in our region.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Goals / Objectives
Goal One: To develop diverse, interdisciplinary, problem-based, experiential academic programs (majors, minors, and certificates) designed to increase the number of minority students educated to: envision, research and implement agriculture in urban settings to produce high quality food; address societal issues regarding food access, justice and security; pursue advanced academic degrees in agriculture and agriculture-related disciplines. Includes: 1. Increase the number of community college students transferring to CSU majoring in agriculture related disciplines (ongoing); 2. Create a faculty professional development program (10/12); 3. Revise existing majors and minors within biological sciences and geography to incorporate urban agriculture (1/12); 4. Develop internship experiences(1/12); 5. Implement Study abroad opportunities focusing on urban agriculture practices(6/13). Goal Two: To create a model urban agriculture network (Consortium for Urban/Rural Agriculture and Alternative Energy - CURA2E) connecting the university to community gardens and for- and non-profit farms that can be implemented in a variety of urban settings. Includes: 1) Developing partnerships networks with commercial urban and rural agriculture firms (ongoing); 2) Expand relationships with local high schools and the surrounding community to include urban agriculture studies (ongoing); 3) Develop partnerships to provide support to community gardens and non-profit farms (1/12).
Project Methods
This proposal is particularly innovative in its urban, multi-disciplinary approach to STEAM education, using urban agriculture as a link with programs housed in a College of Arts and Sciences at a non-land grant university. CSU is a leader in the production of minority, particularly African-American science majors in the five state regions of Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and Ohio. However, these students have been primarily focused within the traditional majors of biology, chemistry, and physics. Urban agriculture and food access, however, are topics of increasing interest throughout the region, and creates an opportunity to build linkages between youth-serving organizations, community colleges, and CSU, and potential employers. These linkages, we hope, may excite students to the potential of a career in agriculture and related disciplines. The training for these careers is, by nature, interdisciplinary. Students will receive training in biology, geography, chemistry and management while receiving problem-based training among these disciplines. The new classes developed for the program will include hands-on problems that incorporate not only the biology and chemistry of agriculture but also the economic geography of local and global food markets, and the place that entrepreneurial efforts might play in addressing food deserts. Through this interdisciplinary, problem-based approach, we hope to train students who are strong in their STEAM core fields (and thus ready for further studies), able to productively fill positions in urban agriculture and related fields, or begin their own business ventures. These efforts will be evaluated through an analysis of the new curricula created, connections and assistance to community organizations and companies, and students both joining and completing the program.

Progress 09/01/11 to 08/31/14

Target Audience: Target audiences served by the Chicago South Side Urban Agriculture Initiative can be separated into four general groups: Chicago State University faculty and students; community organizations and members from Chicago's South Side and surrounding areas; other South Side educational institutions including community colleges and high schools; and other universities such as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Chicago State is a federally recognized Predominately Black Institution (PBI). In fall 2013, CSU's student population was approximately 74% African-American. It was also 70% female. CSU's faculty is also relatively racially diverse. CSU is located on the far South Side of Chicago, in the heart of Chicago's African-American community. The immediately surrounding community, Roseland, was 97% African-American in 2010. Neighboring communities include Pullman, Chatham, and Burnside, which were 84%, 97%, and 98% African-American respectively in 2010. The communities of South Chicago, South Deering, and East Side, located about four miles east of Chicago State, have substantial Hispanic populations. East Side in particular is over 78% Hispanic. The key educational partners on this project were Kennedy-King and Olive Harvey Colleges, both campuses of the City Colleges of Chicago. Both are also located on Chicago's South Side. Kennedy-King College's enrollment was approximately 87% African-American in 2013. The same year, Olive Harvey's enrollment was approximately 66% African-American and 13% Hispanic. Changes/Problems: Objective five, the development of study abroad programs, was cut from the project from the beginning due to the reduced budget. Other than this, the main problem was the difficulty translating the growing interest among the CSU and South Side community in urban agriculture into majors despite the creation of the new Urban Agriculture classes and curriculum. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? The project provided an opportunity for training and professional development for CSU faculty and students interested in urban agriculture. In specific, the project paid for seven students and Project Director Daniel Block to attend the 2012 Growing Food and Justice for All conference in Milwaukee. Project partner Growing Power also arranged for community partners that were part of the Roseland-Pullman Urban Agriculture Network to attend the meeting. Network members and students were also able participate in a composting workshop at their Iron Street (Chicago) site through the grant, as well as an overnight workshop at the site of Project partner Black Oaks. Each was attended by CSU graduate students. Two students, as well as Project Director Daniel Block, attended and presented on food and agriculture related topics at the 2014 Association of American Geographers conference in Tampa, Florida with their trip supported by the grant. Student topics presented on included school gardens as community development and a mapping of corner stores in a South Side community. Dr. Block also attended the 2014 NACTA conference in Bozeman, Montana through funds provided by the grant. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Much of the focus of the project has been on community outreach. This continued and built on the existing Roseland-Pullman Urban Agriculture Network and the work done by the Aquaponics Center. The Roseland-Pullman Urban Agriculture Network, coordinated by the CSU Neighborhood Assistance Center, held meetings monthly, with some exceptions, during the school year during the grant period. While these meetings were originally separate from the South Side Urban Agricutlure Initiative Network (CURAAE), they soon merged. Despite the name, participants are invited from the entire city, and particularly the South Side. Meetings usually included a speaker on an urban agriculture topic followed by networking time. In addition, the network also sponsored community workshops. One of these were led by project partner God's Gang, a community project building micro-terrariums. Project partner Black Oaks was a frequent participant, speaking at three meetings on sustainable agriculture. Aquaponics director Emmanuel Pratt led a workshop on small scale aquaponics systems. Other presentations included subjects such as permaculture, beekeeping, and land banks. Meeting and workshop attendance varied, but there was a steady attendance of representatives from area community gardens and urban agriculture sites, students interested in urban agriculture, and representatives from community organizations. The January 2013 workshop on using recycled materials to small-scale terrariums presented by Carolyn Thomas of God's Gang, attracted 24 participants from gardening programs throughout the city. The February 2014 workshop on "Beekeeping for Commuinty Gardeners and Urban Farmers" drew 15 participants, again from all over the city, but including a number of South Side community gardeners and urban gardeners. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

What was accomplished under these goals? The Chicago South Side Urban Agriculture Initiative focused on developing curricula and partnerships inspired by or utilized the Chicago State Aquaponics Center, aiming to build an integrated urban agriculture (UA) network within and around Chicago State that would spawn innovation, entrepreneurship, and learning throughout Chicago's South Side. This overall goal has largely been accomplished. The CSU Aquaponics Center is today a place where community members come to learn and plant. During the school year and into the summer, monthly meetings of the Roseland-Pullman Urban Agriculture Network, coordinated by Chicago State, have helped build a South Side network of agricultural practitioners. A new UA curriculum has been created and approved. While recruiting lags, the impact of the center and project is palpable. CSU students now frequent the center. CSU graduate students are choosing to write their theses on community gardening and UA. In short, there is now an excitement around urban agriculture, community gardens, and aquaponics among CSU students and community members on the Chicago's South Side that was not there when the project began. Accomplishments: Goal 1, Obj. 1: Meetings at Kennedy-King and Olive Harvey were held with faculty, and faculty at both universities became part of the UA network. Articulation was discussed with Kennedy-King and Olive Harvey, however, they do not currently have UA programs. Discussion is ongoing with these schools, as well as Triton College, a West Suburban community college that is creating a UA certificate program. Recruitment materials were created but await approval of general education status for Biology 1300 (Urban Environmental Science). Obj. 2: Professional development around STEAM was more concentrated on the core disciplines of Biological Sciences and Geography than originally proposed, due to the need to develop interest in the curriculum from these home disciplines out. A committee was created within these disciplines, including five faculty members, the Aquaponics Director, department chairs, and related staff. Three committee members spoke at a Biology Colloquium about the Aquaponics Center and UA and incorporating them into classes. Example of incorporation of UA in classes include Food Justice, a cross-listed Geography/Sociology class, which includes extensive hands on work at the Roseland Peace Garden, and a section of Biological Science Survey 1, which incorporated a lab testing the relative effectiveness of aquaponics effluent and water in producing cucumbers. A SWOT analysis of the project was completed. Conclusions included: Integrate UA into general education to garner more interest and students. Students shy away from registering for courses that have low enrollment because they are afraid they will be cut. UA classes tend to be offered as over-rides which presents a challenge if it is offered as a concentration. Obj. 3. CSU faculty reviewed the Biological Sciences and Geography curricula and developed a program that involved dual concentrations in the existing Biology and Geography majors. The Biology track is now incorporated into the Biology major rather than being a separate concentration. Capstone classes are now required for all Biological Sciences and Geography majors. Two new courses were developed: Biology 1300, Urban Environmental Science, is a basic level introduction to environmental science that incorporates UA, as well as CSU's prairie garden. The course is designed to bring people into the UA program. It has been taught twice to date. This course is currently under formal consideration to be a University General Education class. A second new course is Biology/Geography 2250: Urban Agriculture, Food, and Sustainability. This is a co-listed multidisciplinary course. Unfortunately, it has not gotten the minimum number of students the first two times it has been listed. These courses and the UA program have been approved and are in the current university catalog. As of yet, no students are enrolled in the concentration. However, courses within the concentration, with the exception of Biology/Geography 2250, such as Food Justice and the Geography of Food and Hunger, continue to be successfully offered. Obj. 4: This goal has been delayed because of the lack of students within the program. However, student interest, particularly within the MA in Geography program, has greatly increased since the project started, and some of these students have had student worker positions with the Aquaponics Center or related sites. Four students were able to interact with the program through student learning stipends, which occurred during the 2012-2013 school year. All four "interned" at the Aquaponics Center. One student developed a social media plan for the UA Network. An education major incorporated UA learning into his capstone project. A student who was an undergraduate at the time is now in the MA in Geography program and is doing a thesis on UA and community development. Obj. 5: This objective was cut from the final approved budget due to funding cuts. Goal 2, Obj. 1: Project partners Growing Power, Black Oaks, and God's Gang, all of whom are non-profit farms, have been important collaborators with this project throughout. Each led and hosted workshops and helped plan community outreach events. Obj. 2: The Aquaponics Center is heavily involved in outreach to high schools. Four students from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences have worked at the center for the past two summers. Project partners God's Gang, Growing Power, and Black Oaks were very involved in planning workshops as well as the development of the UA network, as well as linkages to the community. The micro-grants also allowed the project to recruit new partners into the network. Outreach activities have been a core part of the project, generally combined with networking events. Much of the focus of the project has been on community outreach. The Roseland-Pullman UA Network, coordinated by the CSU Neighborhood Assistance Center, held meetings monthly, with some exceptions, during the school year during the grant period. Generally, these involved a speaker on an UA topic followed by networking time. Obj. 3: Meetings of the Roseland-Pullman Urban Agriculture Network became more steady, generally planned for the same or similar times each month. A mini-grant RFP was sent out to Chicago UA listserves and local networks. A committee of CSU faculty and staff was created to judge the mini-grants. Eight were selected, and of these seven were claimed. The grantees attended separate network meetings that eventually merged with the Roseland-Pullman UA Network. While no formal internships have been done with the mini-grant recipients, a graduate student wrote her Community Development capstone as an educational plan for one of the recipients. The networking and outreach components of the project were quite successful, although grantees complained about the time and effort needed to obtain a relatively small amount of money. This issue came out in a SWOT analysis done through interviews with recipients. Conclusions included: Learning from each other was invaluable. Participants learned about valuable resources available to support their work. Partners have successfully collaborated. The technical assistance sessions provided powerful visions of what the community partners’ efforts could evolve into. There was not always continuity between network meetings. The seed grants were very modest. It took a long time for funds to get approved. A quote from a micro-grant recipient: “The network and technical assistance (were) very helpful....Community farming in a difficult neighborhood is hard. We got lots of support and help from other farmers in the network, from …[CSU] .. and from the technical assistance and workshops....The information and resource sharing was invaluable.”


  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Block D, Food Deserts, in Thompson PB and Kaplan DM (eds.), Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Science+Business Media. 2014.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Block D and Engler N, The Chicago South Side Urban Agriculture Initiative: Evaluation of a New Urban Agriculture Curriculum and Innovation Network at an Urban Predominately Black University, Poster presented at National Association of College Teachers of Agriculture Annual Meeting, Bozeman, MT, June 2014.

Progress 09/01/12 to 08/31/13

Target Audience: We had four major target audiences for the Sept. 1, 2012-Aug. 31, 2013 period. First, the project focused on informing faculty at Chicago State University about the urban agriculture program. The primary focus of this outreach work was to the Department of Biological Sciences, one of the host departments for the program, which needed to incorporate the urban agriculture program into its curriculum. Second, the project targeted Chicago State students, through internships, the Urban Agriculture Club, as well as student leaders. Third, the project focused on building the Urban Agriculture and Aquaponics programs as hubs of a growing South Side Urban Agriculture Network, through meetings and workshops with community organizations and existing local food systems networks. Fourth, the project began outreach to other universities, including the University of Illinois, DePaul University, and Loyola University, towards development of permanent connections around partnerships around urban agriculture curriculum. Changes/Problems: The major problem we have encountered is, as of yet, a lack of interest among students in the Urban Agriculture concentrations we have created. This is most likely the result of a low amount of marketing for the program and a lack of research dollars in Urban Agriculture at Chicago State that would provide for undergraduate and graduate research opportunities. An additional issue is that professional development for CSU faculty on using Urban Agriculture and Aquaponics in classes needs to be performed and additional partnerships with high schools need to be made. To assist in addressing these issues, we are starting conversations with the University of Illinois to partner to strengthen our program as well as to build links to the University of Illinois' Plant Sciences program. In addition to this, the study abroad portion of the project has been dropped from the project since it was out of place with the rest of the project, which is particularly community focused. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Training and professional development has focused primarily on two groups: community gardens and urban farming organizations; and CSU faculty. The main focus has been on community gardens and urban farming organizations. Through the Roseland-Pullman Urban Agriculture Network, the project has sponsored monthly meetings that include discussions of social marketing, as well as tours of local gardens. The Network also sponsored two community workshops, one led by project partner God's Gang, who presented on a school or community project building micro-terrariums, and the second led by Emmanuel Pratt, the director of the CSU Aquaponics Center, who spoke on small scale aquaponics programs. For CSU faculty, we spoke at the Biology Colloquium, presenting the new curriculum to the full aquaphonics faculty as well as discussing the aquaponics center. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Since a major goal in this grant is to help Chicago State become the center of a South Side Urban Agriculture network, dissemination of information both about the network and about the new urban agriculture curriculum is a major part of the project itself. In addition, information about the project needs to be disseminated on campus. Dissemination about the curriculum and network has occurred through the Roseland-Pullman Urban Agriculture Network, as well as through Chicago-wide venues such as the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council's listserve. Information has been spread on campus through the Biology Colloquium, student clubs such as the Biological and Geographical Society, as well as the Aquaponics Club. Dissemination by project director Daniel Block about the project as a whole to the outside scholarly community has occured through participation in a panel at the annual meeting of the Assocation of American Geographers in April 2013 entitled "Race, Community Geography, and the Development of an Urban Agriculture Curriculum and Community Partnerships at a Predominately African-American University." Additional presentations on food access occurred at the annual meeting of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society, the University of Illinois at Chicago Food Forum, and St. Xavier University. Block also gave a community presentation at the Field Museum of Natural History, and was worked with community and university partners on developing university-community linkages around food access issues at two universities in Georgia, Columbus State and Georgia State. At Columbus State, Block met with university officials, a local agriculture extension agent, geography professors, and a dean. Since this time, a group of Columbus State students have released a community food access project and have further developed a partnership around community garden and food issues. At Georgia State, Atlanta activists have teamed with the Geography program to similarly develop community food mapping projects. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? 1) Continue community work. Work with project partners Growing Power and Black Oaks Center, as well as existing network leaders, to help strengthen the Roseland-Pullman Urban Agriculture Network and to provide additional workshops. 2) Build on existing connections to high schools through the Aquaponics Center to develop connections directly to the Urban Agriculture program. 3) Further outreach to CSU students to increase enrollment in Urban Agriculture program classes and, through this, the Urban Agriculture concentrations in the Geography and Biology majors. 4) Promote student interest and awareness of the concentration through presentations, aquaponic open houses, and other events. 5) Build a partnership with the University of Illinois to promote exchanges of students and faculty members to help bring expertise as well as research assistant dollars to Chicago State, and to build interest in graduate studies in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Illinois. 6) Students and faculty attend national conferences on agriculture and agricultural education sharing and learning from the Chicago State experience. 7) Further attempt to develop connections with area for-profit urban and rural farms.

What was accomplished under these goals? Major accomplishments for the year beginning Sept. 1, 2012 include: 1) Completing the revision of the existing majors within biological sciences and geography to incorporate urban agriculture. While this began in the previous year, due to changes in the Biology major classes in the new concentration in Biology were first taught this year, and the new concentrations in both Geography and Biology received final approval to become part of Chicago State's course catalog. 2) Internship experiences were created for three students within the Geography MA and BA programs and the College of Education at the CSU Aquaponics Center and doing outreach to community partners. Of these students, one has gone on to receive a RA position for this year with another grant for her work on urban agriculture. Three additional students were funded through the university for RA positions with the aquaponics center over the past year. Three Geography MA students are focusing their theses on urban agriculture. The grant also assisted in our partnership with Chicago Greencorps and Chicago Audubon Society in which our Urban Environmental Science students researched, designed and learned how to plant trees, shrubs and perennials in an urban migratory bird habitat that links our urban area with the broader environment (Chicago is a stopover for over 300 species of migratory birds each spring). Greencorps and Audubon were involved in purchasing habitat plants and preparing and implementing the site. About 12-15 local youth that were being paid as part of Greencorps did much of the planting and site prep.3) Seven students attended the 2012 Growing Food and Justice for All conference in Milwaukee sponsored by Growing Power with registration paid through the grant. 4) While relationships with local high schools still need to be further developed with the academic Urban Agriculture program, the Aquaponics Center has sponsored many connections, including a summer internship program for three students from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences at the CSU Aquaponics Center. 5) Partnerships with community gardens and non-profit farms in the surrounding area have been strengthened, including support of the ongoing Roseland-Pullman Urban Agriculture Network, and support of community workshops on developing small scale aquaponics and "microaquaponics" systems. In addition, seed grants supported by the project were carried out by four partner organizations. 6) Evaluation techniques were finalized with our evaluation partner, DePaul University, and project evaluation is currently being completed.


  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2013 Citation: Block, Daniel R. and Nadya Engler. Race, Community Geography, and the Development of an Urban Agriculture Curriculum and Community Partnerships at a Predominately African-American University. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, April, 2013, Los Angeles, CA
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Alkon AH, Block D, Moore K, Gillis C,DiNuccio N, and Chavez N. Foodways of the Urban Poor. Geoforum 48 (2013) 126-135.

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).