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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory » Research » Research Project #431424

Research Project: Project Sustain II: Enhancing Urban Agriculture through Research and Outreach

Location: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21660-005-044-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 15, 2016
End Date: Sep 14, 2021

To 1) develop improved agricutural practices addressing nutrient and water use efficiency, food safety and nutrition, food waste and environmental risks in urban agriculture systems and 2) provide mentorship to UDC students and cooperative extension participants interested in Urban Agrculture.

The approach to accomplish objectives 1 and 2 will be to established student and cooperative extension intern research projects addressing urban agriculture production issues. Areas identified for potential projects include: reducing food safety risks in aquaponic systems; increasing nutrient use efficiency through recycling of food waste (compositing); application of integrated pest management practices in urban settings; improving water use efficiency in urban settings with low cost technologies; and improving production methods for ethnic foods. Projects would be conducted collaboratively by UDC and BARC scientists and involve UDC student and cooperative extension interns. Research would be conducted at UDC food hub locations, UDC Muirkirk Farm, and/or BARC. Students and cooperative extension participants would work closely with UDC and BARC scientists to develop hypotheses, collect and analyze samples, process data, create posters, and write abstracts/reports/manuscripts. Areas of research would be jointly agreed upon by UDC and BARC scientists focusing on areas that address needs of food hub stakeholders. Students and cooperative extension participants would receive a stipend each semester ($2000 or more/semester depending on grad/undergrad status and cost adjustments). Timeline of projects will depend on the objectives but would last through at least one semester and could continue into the summer.