Our Urban Agriculture Institute at Richmond High School is a student-driven “farm, classroom, and community” program with three key components:
- The Institute’s in-class, accredited coursework – “Urban Ecology and American Food Systems” – studies biophysical and socioeconomic forces (e.g., biology, economics, public policy) to help students understand, predict, and manage the emergent phenomena we call cities. Co-taught by a school-district teacher and Urban Tilth, the course uses lectures, readings, discussions, cooking, practical lab experiences, and field trips to explore urban ecology, botany, and horticulture, plant propagation, nutrition and food, and environmental justice.
- In the Institute’s “on the farm” component, Institute students move outdoors, onto the 8,000 square foot farm and 14 raised garden beds that the school district has allowed us to build and operate on-site at the school, where we also have a tool-shed and a greenhouse. The site also offers an additional 20,000 square feet available for us to plant and farm in the coming years.
- To continue their studies during summer break, many of the Institute students participate in our paid, 100-hour Summer Youth Apprenticeship component, in which we partner with the City’s Employment and Training division to employ local youth to develop farms and gardens citywide.