August 26, 2010

Richmond’s Urban Agriculture Institutes: A First Stage Impact Study

Jesse Kurtz-Nicholl

Jesse Kurtz-Nicholl

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

I wanted to post an impact study that I performed this year of the Urban Agriculture Institutes that I used to run in Richmond, Calif.  This paper represents the first step in a program evaluation of Urban Tilth’s Urban Agriculture Institutes.  While this study had an intervention/control cross sectional design, with no baseline data it cannot make any causal claims.  The data for the full program evaluation does have a pre/post element and is being currently analyzed.

The program that Urban Tilth is now running is a mature, well conceived model that I believe has replicable qualities for schools throughout the country.  The idea is fairly simple.  An urban agriculture program at the high school level, that gives high school graduation credit, provides food system education, cooking and tasting demonstrations, community and service learning all under the larger focus of intensive urban food production.  Students manage their own school garden or farm, and create a working Community Supported Agriculture  (CSA) business model to provide produce to the community.  During the summer when school is out (and school gardens become abandoned) Urban Tilth hires the trained Urban Aggers to continue their training, and manage many school and urban gardens throughout the summer.  Students return next year as leaders in the continuing work of producing food for the community.

I hope you enjoy reading it and I’m getting excited about putting together the final program evaluation to show a national audience what Urban Tilth is doing…

Students Growing Food:  A Study of a Food-Production Focused Intervention in a California High School

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