Urban Agriculture and Food Systems
In this Capstone, we will critically examine the limits and possibilities of urban agriculture’s contribution to the food system through a twin lens of social science and agroecology. Our community partner is the Urban Farm Collective (UFC), an organization establishing urban gardens in N and NE Portland. The interdisciplinary final Capstone project will combine mapping, interviews, and other data collection with research of best practices to develop a toolkit for the UFC that both evaluates the organization's contribution to the food system and lays out a framework for its expansion to other parts of PDX. The course is both reading-intensive/discussion-driven and hands-on. The course will meet twice a week (M/W, 2 to 4). All but five meetings will be on campus. The other five meetings will be held at one of the UFC sites. Mondays are generally site visit or workshop days to work on the Capstone project work in one of the UFC gardens. On Wednesdays students will discuss scholarly readings and hear from guest speakers involved in Portland’s urban agriculture movement.
The five site visits will be hands-on experiences (not simple field trips), where students integrate theory and practice as they learn ecological horticulture techniques while contributing to the expansion and maintenance of the UFC’s gardens. We will be meeting at one of the UFC gardens on 4/8, 4/29, 5/6, 5/13, and 5/20 instead of at PSU.
Instructor: Nathan McClintock, firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Capstone project, developed through conversations between the capstone instructor, members of the UFC administrators, and Garden Managers with the Urban Farm Collective (UFC), is intended to serve both students—by providing them with an opportunity to engage with the UFC’s efforts and to develop research skills—and the UFC—by providing it with data that may help shape programmatic decisions and secure future funding. By extension, the project should ultimately benefit the N and NE Portland communities in which the UFC works, by identifying the ways in which the UFC can better serve them.Over the course of the Spring 2013 capstone, students will develop a “toolkit” for the Urban Farm Collective. The toolkit will serve three functions:
o to assess the current reach of the Urban Farm Collective
o to identify the needs and obstacles faced by old and new UFC “nodes”
o to lay out the framework of what might be needed for the development of future UFC nodes, both materially and in terms of community engagement.