Urban agriculture in Connecticut is growing! Urban farms, community gardens, and innovative practices such as hydroponics are all a part of the urban agriculture landscape. To help meet the needs of the urban agriculture community, Jacqueline Kowalski recently joined the UConn Extension team. She is based at the Fairfield County Extension Center in Bethel.
Identified as a land reuse strategy, community and economic development vehicle, and means to help address food insecurity, urban agriculture production has many benefits, including mitigating the effects of climate change. Climate change continues to affect all areas of food production including urban agriculture which could play a huge role to play in addressing food system stabilization.
While she grew up in a rural community, her first professional position took her to St. Croix, Virgin Islands working for the University of the Virgin Islands Agricultural Experiment Station where she developed her career-long passions of increasing specialty crop production and providing technical support to historically underserved farmers. Jacqueline’s most recent work has been with Ohio State University Extension in Cleveland and Akron in the areas of beginning farmer education, seasonal high tunnel production, community garden leadership training, and volunteer management.
The position at UConn appealed to her for many reasons which include the growing number of urban farmers and those interested in the benefits of urban agriculture, the increasing participation of BIPOC farmers engaging in the food system, and UConn’s commitment to partnering with urban communities and working toward undoing structural racism that prevented many from participating the food system.
She will be offering a beginning urban farmer training program in collaboration with the Green Village Initiative starting in May 2022. For more information visit s.uconn.edu/urbanfarmingcourse.
Prior to her work with Ohio State, she was the Director of Horticulture and Agronomy for the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture. She received her formal education from Michigan State University and the University of the Virgin Islands.