“We’re working to serve the residents of our capital city through research, investigations, teaching, education, engagement, and experiments.”
A key component of the land-grant system is the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES). Created by the Hatch Act of 1887, Agricultural Experiment Stations have the charge of finding solutions to problems of agriculture in the respective state. An excerpt from the Hatch Act of 1887 states, "It is the duty of the Agricultural Experiment Station to conduct original and other research, investigations, and experiments ... basic to the problems of agriculture in the broadest sense ... or as deemed necessary, having due regard to the varying conditions and needs of the respective state." Thus, UDC's Agricultural Experiment Station is challenged with addressing specific problems and issues unique to an urban environment. Urban agriculture can be defined as a branch of agriculture that addresses unique, yet germane issues pertaining to the urban environment, such as, but not limited to, socio-economic concerns, literacy, human health and nutrition, urban food production, preservation and conservation of the urban natural resources, urban architectural design and land usage, urban greening, recreation, environmental monitoring, water quality, pollution, environmental stewardship, pest control, and cultural diversity.
In a continued effort to enhance the quality of life of an urban society, AES established several goals in alignment with the strategic goals set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These carefully planned AES goals provide our researchers and staff with direction and specificity, while fostering creativity, team work, and perseverance. The goals of the AES are to:
- Expand and promote research activities in the fields of nutrition and health, urban food production, food safety, resource conservation, urban architectural design, urban gardening, sustainable agriculture, environmental issues, climate change and renewable energy.
- Expand sustainable Agricultural Experiment Station/Cooperative Extension Service integrated projects.
- Develop analytical techniques and cost effective mitigation strategies to reduce environmental pollutants and contaminants.
- Expand Develop projects that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness in the use of natural resources that enhance the quality of life for the citizens of the District of Columbia.
- Conduct research related to food and nutrition in order to address health problems such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, aging and other related diseases.
- Promote sustainable neighborhoods and healthy urban environments;
Additionally, AES will continue to promote environmental conservation, community engagement and awareness. As these goals are met, residents of the District of Columbia will benefit from the results of our interdisciplinary research, education, and extension programs and the University will be steps closer to achieving a greater harmony between agriculture and the environment.
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