OOS 2 - Agroecology of Urban Gardens: Contributions to Research and Science Education

Monday, August 6, 2012: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
B113, Oregon Convention Center
Thomas V. Dietsch, Earthwatch Institute
Thomas V. Dietsch, Earthwatch Institute
Increasingly, people living in cities are turning to community gardening to improve their nutrition and access to quality produce. With little income to support them, the urban poor have frequently been abandoned by the major grocery chains creating what are referred to as food deserts, where the only access to food are fast food restaurants and convenience stores. In response, community organizers and church groups are starting local gardens situated in vacant lots and farmer’s markets in abandoned parking lots. This growing movement can now be found in nearly every city, where food production has become a central place for fostering community development and reconnecting people with the natural world. This urban food security/sovereignty movement has cross-fertilized with growing “buy local” and “grow your own” sentiments on the part of more affluent urbanite consumers to create vibrant networks of community/urban gardens, farmers markets, and other community-supported agriculture efforts that make up today’s Sustainable Food movement. In 1996, UNDP estimated that urban agriculture contributed 15% of the world’s food with the potential to produce significantly more. However, scientific research to understand the agroecological processes of urban gardens has received little attention. Nonetheless, there is a growing focus on research that both improves our scientific understanding of the ecology of urban gardens and engages citizens in ecological research that have few opportunities to experience nature. This session will spotlight agroecological research that addresses the unique challenges to agriculture in urban environments, including soil science, pollination, pests and disease ecology. Research on positive benefits of urban gardens for their communities will be discussed, including improvements to food security and urban greenspace. Finally, presentations will include several programs that focus on the connections between research and learning where urban gardens serve as a classroom and outdoor laboratory for science education. The goal of this symposium is to bring together researchers that are finding urban gardens to be unique and interesting study systems for research that contributes directly not only to the need for a better understanding of agroecology in urban settings, but also to broader themes in ecology and science education. If time permits, the session will conclude with a discussion to identify research needs and priorities and the potential to support communities involved in urban agriculture.
1:50 PM
 Practicing agroecology in Brooklyn community gardens: Enhancing ecosystem services and gardener learning through collaborative inquiry on cover crops
Megan M. Gregory, Cornell University; Laurie E. Drinkwater, Cornell University; Scott J. Peters, Imagining America / Syracuse University; Deborah Greig, East New York Farms! / United Community Centers; David Vigil, East New York Farms! / United Community Centers
2:10 PM
 Effects of garden land use, management practices, and landscape context on pest and beneficial insects in urban vegetable gardens
Megan M. Gregory, Cornell University; Erin Eck, Cornell University; Alicia Miggins, Long Island University; Abigail Cohen, Rutgers University; Margaret Pickoff, Bates College; Timothy W. Leslie, Long Island University
2:30 PM
 Biodiversity in urban gardens: Factors driving predator and pollinator communities
Stacy M. Philpott, University of California, Santa Cruz; Julie A. Cotton, Michigan State University; Russell L. Friedrich, USDA; Leigh C. Moorhead, University of Tennessee; Gabriella L. Pardee, University of Toledo; Shinsuke Uno, Hosei University; Monica Valdez, University of Toledo; Peter Bichier, University of California, Santa Cruz
2:50 PM
 The effect of biocomplexity on the spread of pests in urban agriculture
Theresa Wei Ying Ong, University of Michigan; John H. Vandermeer, University of Michigan
3:10 PM
3:20 PM
 Cavity-nesting bees and wasps in urban agroecology: Landscape determinants of diversity and foraging
J. Scott MacIvor, York University; Laurence Packer, York University
3:40 PM
 Healthy soils, healthy communities: A research and education partnership with urban gardeners
Hannah Shayler, Cornell University; Murray McBride, Cornell University; Jonathan Russell-Anelli, Cornell University; Donna Lopp, Cornell University; Henry Spliethoff, New York State Dept. of Health; Lydia Marquez-Bravo, New York State Dept. of Health; Lisa Ribaudo, New York State Dept. of Health; Edie Stone, GreenThumb; Gretchen Ferenz, Cornell University Cooperative Extension - NYC; Lorraine Brooks, Cornell University Cooperative Extension - NYC; Veronique Lambert, Cornell University Cooperative Extension - NYC
4:00 PM
 Laying the groundwork for soil science education through urban agriculture service-learning
Julie Grossman, NCSU; Sarah Smith, North Carolina State University; Michelle Schroeder-Moreno, North Carolina State University; Amanda Soltes, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle
4:20 PM
4:40 PM
 Growing media affects edible plant production and leachate on a simulated rooftop farm
Jason M. Aloisio, Wildlife Conservation Society; James D. Lewis, Fordham University
See more of: Organized Oral Session