California State University, Fullerton

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Welcome to U-ACRE, The Urban Agriculture Community-based Research Experience (U-ACRE) program at California State University Fullerton provides:

  • Hands-on community-based research experience for undergraduates
  • Community outreach in areas of urban agriculture, and food security
  • A replicable model of  urban agriculture as a tool to increase food security
  • Knowledge and skill sets for jobs and careers in STEM and NIFA-related fields

Community-based research foci include:

  • Implementing and evaluating sustainable urban agriculture projects to increase community food security and influence dietary patterns of children
  • Understanding food choices and dietary intake through childhood and in the context of food insecurity
  • Understanding how agriculture can be integrated into the urban ecosystem leading to sustainable practices, conservation of natural resources and biodiversity

Program structure:

  1. Begins with a 5-week intensive transdisciplinary program of study during the summer session
  2. Followed by junior year community-based research experience working with a U-ACRE faculty mentor on an established research project
    • Student researchers enrolled in service learning independent studies and cohort structured seminar courses
    • Student researchers participate in internships developed with local community partners and USDA
  3. Culminates in a year of analysis and senior thesis
    • With annual conference for student presentations
    • Participation in annual CSU Student Research Competition
    • Submission of thesis or a portion thereof either for external publication or to Dimensions, the CSUF student research journal

Ongoing Community Projects and Partners:

  1. Organic Waste Diversion and school garden with Ladera Vista Junior High School
    • Using BioSafe vermi-composting units to reclaim organic waste while producing vermi-compost for school garden and potentially generating new revenue for school
  2. Urban garden at the transitional living center run by Pathways of Hope in Fullerton
  3. Research in coordination with Orange County Food Access Coalition
    • Analysis of national and county level data
    • Dissemination to coalition members
    • Food Knowledge and Choice in an Environment of Food Insecurity project conducted at transitional living and food distribution centers in OC
  4. Fabian Garcia, Program Director, US Forest Service, USDA collaborator
  5. Fullerton Arboretum
    • Active engagement with Director, Curator, and Program Leader of training garden

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