Center for Urban Agriculture and Gardening Education (CUAGE)
Mchezaji “Che” Axum is the Director of the Center for Urban Agriculture and Gardening Education, where he leads a team of researchers at the Firebird Research Farm in Beltsville, Maryland, and oversees several community education programs including the DC Master Gardening Program, Urban Agriculture Soil-Less Certificate, Urban Agriculture Technician Certificate, Introduction to Agroecology and Sustainable Food Production, Gardening and Nutrition Program and the 4-H Soccer Program. He worked for the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Plant Sciences Institute, for 20 years, taught middle school science, and has worked as a successful farmer and sustainable farming consultant. He is a graduate of the College of Agronomy, now named to the College of Natural Resource Management at the University of Maryland. Mr. Axum is also a certified nutrient management consultant for the state of Maryland. He is a member of the American Agronomy Society/ ASA, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.
Diego Lahaye is the 4-H program associate and community educator of the Center for Urban agriculture & Gardening Education. Diego Lahaye holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Media from the University of the District of Columbia. He is responsible for starting 4-H clubs and activities in the District of Columbia, including recruiting, training, supporting, and managing volunteers that work with the 4-H educational programs. He runs three 4H programs at CUAGE: gardening, nutrition and soccer.
Mike Whyte serves as the Assistant Farm Manager of UDC. Mike’s agricultural experience includes hydroponics, aquaponics, vertical agriculture, urban farm equipment manufacturing, native plant nursery management, and soil-based vegetable crop production. Mike is also a proud Firebird alumnus, having earned the Professional Science Master of Urban Agriculture.