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Sustainable Urban AG Project Begins In Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Friends of Troy Gardens have begun a project dedicated to research, education, and outreach at Troy Gardens on Madison”s north side.

The Troy Gardens Sustainable Urban Agriculture Learning Community is funded by a $493,603 grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan. The grant supports the development of the Troy Gardens Community Farm, community gardens, and youth gardens. Funding for the project will be used to further research and educational activities, develop and enhance the sustainable food system aspects of Troy Gardens, and support community outreach, participation, and education goals of the project.

“Troy Gardens is a community-owned and managed property that integrates urban agriculture, natural areas restoration, and affordable housing. Six years of active citizen planning resulted in a vision for this integrated landscape. We”re now making this vision a reality,” said Sharon Lezberg, executive director of the Friends of Troy Garden.

“This project is an innovative model for community involvement in sustainable urban food systems,” said Marcia Caton Campbell, assistant professor of Urban and Regional Planning and co-principal investigator of the project. “It engages faculty and students from the UW-Madison as partners in multidisciplinary research, learning, and service activities,” said Lydia Zepeda, a professor in the School of Human Ecology and principal investigator of the project.

According to Steve Stevenson, associate director of the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the UW-Madison, “the Learning Community offers a unique opportunity to bring a broad interdisciplinary group of faculty and students together in a common endeavor. It”s a rare form of institutional engagement with the local community.”

The Friends of Troy Gardens is a non-profit membership organization responsible for the stewardship of the 26 acres of land dedicated to urban agriculture and natural areas restoration. FTG member organizations include the Northside Planning Council, Madison Area Community Land Trust, Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin, Urban Open Space Foundation, and the UW-Madison.

The Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems is a research and outreach center in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the UW-Madison. Its major focus is the sustainability of agriculture and food systems.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 “to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations.” Its programming activities center around the common vision of a world in which each person has a sense of worth; accepts responsibility self, family, community, and societal well-being; and has the capacity to be productive, and to help create nurturing families, responsive institutions, and healthy communities.

To achieve the greatest impact, the Foundation targets its grants toward specific areas. These include health, food systems and rural development, youth and education, and philanthropy and voluntarism. Within these areas, attention is given to the cross-cutting themes of leadership, information and communication technology, capitalizing on diversity, and social and economic community development. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.