U-ACRE: Improving Urban Food Systems through Community-Based Research

The U-ACRE (Urban Agriculture Community-Based Research Experience) Project links the Fullerton Arboretum to the larger community to improve how we grow, prepare, eat and think about our food.

Founded in 2011 with the goal of spreading sustainable urban food systems and healthy eating throughout the Orange County area and beyond, U-ACRE:

  • Promotes sustainable agriculture and environmental justice.
  • Provides food security to those in need.
  • Offers research opportunities to develop what we know about what we grow.

U-ACRE and its research are funded by the the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), a research agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). To learn more about the U-ACRE program, visit the U-ACRE website Opens in new window .

Community-Based Agricultural Science in Action

Welcome to the next generation of agriculture. Click to watch the video report on the Spectrum News 1 website.

Cal State Fullerton's Arboretum Grows Next Gen Farmers Opens in new window

Meet the U-ACRE Partners

Fullerton Arboretum, U-ACRE partner

Fullerton Arboretum

That’s us!
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Fullerton Arboretum

Fullerton Arboretum’s 26-acre botanical garden is the perfect place to bring together CSUF faculty, student researchers all of the U-ACRE partners for awesome research and service learning.

Student fellows from Cal State Fullerton and staff from Monkey Business Café are always hard at work managing, studying, and improving the Arboretum’s farms and sharing their insights with both local communities and the larger scientific community.

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United States Department of Agriculture, U-ACRE partner

United States Department of Agriculture

Strategic goals for the future of farming
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United States Department of Agriculture

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) develops policy about agriculture, nutrition, sustainability and natural resources.

As part of its strategic goals, the USDA aims to promote sustainable practices and improve food security.

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National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U-ACRE partner

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

From research labs to local communities
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National Institute of Food and Agriculture

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is an agency within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

NIFA extends the latest agricultural research to farms, classrooms and communities to achieve food security and sustainability across the U.S. and the globe.

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CSUF Center For Sustainability, U-ACRE partner

CSUF Center For Sustainability

Towards a more sustainable CSUF
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CSUF Center For Sustainability

The Center for Sustainability at Cal State Fullerton provides sustainability education and supports initiatives to spread sustainable practices on campus and beyond.

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Ladera Vista School of the Arts, U-ACRE partner

Ladera Vista School of the Arts

Learning inside and outside the classroom
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Ladera Vista School of the Arts

Students at Ladera Vista Junior High School of the Arts are doing some amazing things: one minute they’re studying in the classroom — the next they’re tending to flowers and vegetables in their sustainable, on-campus gardens.

Committed to the future of food, LVJHS works with student researchers from Cal State Fullerton to teach kids everything they need to know about food sustainability, from vermicomposting in the gardens to preparing meals in the kitchen.

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Pathways of Hope, U-ACRE partner

Pathways of Hope

200,000+ meals per year
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Pathways of Hope

Founded in 1975, Pathways of Hope is a non-profit organization that provides food, housing and shelter to homeless and low-income members of our community.

Pathways of Hope plays a vital role in the struggle to end hunger and homelessness in Orange County: their community garden provides locally grown meals to thousands of people each year and their life-skills classes teach people how to cook with fresh vegetables.

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Beechwood Elementary, U-ACRE partner

Beechwood Elementary

Zero-waste composting
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Beechwood Elementary

Beechwood Elementary aims to become a zero-waste school by teaching its students about environmental sustainability and food security.

And with fun projects like building and maintaining vermicomposting units at the school, that goal is within sight!

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Hermosa Drive Elementary, U-ACRE partner

Hermosa Drive Elementary

Where sustainability is second nature
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Hermosa Drive Elementary

At Hermosa Drive Elementary, sustainability is second nature.

From kindergarten through sixth grade, Hermosa Drive students participate in every phase of maintaining their school’s garden. From planning to harvest, it’s all incorporated into the school’s curriculum!

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Monkey Business Café, U-ACRE partner

Monkey Business Café

Empowering foster-care and at-risk youth
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Monkey Business Café

Monkey Business Café is a restaurant and social enterprise that provides job opportunities to foster-care and at-risk youth, helping them develop marketable skills in the restaurant and business industries.

Monkey Business employees work alongside Cal State Fullerton students at the Arboretum to plant and pick sustainable crops, optimize their harvest and provide the freshest food possible.

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Future Food Farms, U-ACRE partner

Future Foods Farms

Sustainable, organic, aquaponic
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Future Food Farms

As one of the largest aquaponic farms in California, Future Food Farms combines aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water without soil) to maintain their sustainable, organic, low-energy farms.

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American Heart Association Teaching Gardens, U-ACRE partner

American Heart Association Teaching Gardens

Improving cardiovascular health one garden at a time
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American Heart Association Teaching Gardens

The American Heart Association has a goal: by 2020, improve the cardiovascular health of Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.

The Teaching Gardens program helps achieve this goal by giving elementary-school students the chance to grow their own food and learn about healthy eating.

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Meet the U-ACRE Researchers

Faculty, U-ACRE Researcher Opens in new window

Faculty Opens in new window

Our awesome faculty from Cal State Fullerton, Fullerton College, Santa Ana College and UC Santa Barbara
Students, U-ACRE Researcher Opens in new window

Students Opens in new window

The students who make U-ACRE possible
 
Alumni, U-ACRE Researcher Opens in new window

Alumni Opens in new window

U-ACRE grads and all of the amazing work they’re doing