Institute for Sustainability 2020

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The Institute for Sustainability has pursued or supported several research grants. The most recent awards include the USDA 2501 Grant; USDA Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program; Haynes Foundation Fellowship; and Fruit Tree Planting Foundation.

We support faculty research through coordinating collaborative multi-disciplinary grant proposals and providing grant administrative assistance. We have acquired funding to train K-12 teachers in energy and water resources and conservation, to assist businesses with sustainability, to conduct community outreach and education, and to support innovation and research in climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience.



Active Grants

Faculty surrounded by plants

IS is one of several sites chosen for the USDA 2501 grant. The award funds the Agroecology, Farming & Food Pathways (AFFP) program, which offers two interactive online courses to explore a career in agriculture and earn a Certificate in Applied Agroecology. In partnership with Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA), we will be offering a 3-month program that includes guest presentations, hands-on farm training, local farm visits, and a chance to connect and build community with other motivated emerging farmers.

FTPF logo

This grant will support the planting and care of a new innovative 50-fruit tree sustainable orchard adjacent to the food garden. The orchard will feature stone fruit, coffee plants, perennial native plants, teaching areas, and public art created and designed in collaboration with CSUN alum and IntersectLA.

Haynes Foundation logo

Led by PI Natale Zappia, this award funds the development of the Open Garden (OG) app. OG brings together history, sustainability, and technology to reimagine what it means to live in this urbanized world, revealing public gardens and nature hidden in plain sight. The app aims to make green spaces part of our everyday life—part of the foreground rather than the background. The goal of the app is to help visualize changes in land use patterns over time—from the movement of farms to the disruption of ecological systems to the reintroduction of these spaces in the twenty-first century. Open Garden is focused on visualizing Los Angeles, but the project aims to reimagine other urban areas around the globe. The needs of Angelinos are similar those of other dynamic cities facing environmental issues related to lack of green spaces, gardens, and food-producing areas, transportation, and air/water quality.

Learn more about Open Garden

People at a farmers market

This project addresses a need to increase the capacity to develop and distribute local/regional agricultural products to improve food security in low-income South Los Angeles (SLA) neighborhoods. The project will support partners, RootDown LA (RDLA), Sustainable Economic Enterprises of LA partner farms (SEELA), and California State University, Northridge’s Institute for Sustainability (CSUN), to leverage RDLA’s successful Zero-waste Youth Culinary Training Program (ZYCTP) and commercial kitchen to plan for a model urban zero-waste food Enterprise. This Enterprise can support local/regional farmers, youth entrepreneurs, and smaller SLA food producers (e.g. caterers/street vendors) to reduce on-farm/community food waste and safely produce/market more local/regional value-added agricultural products in SLA.