Bio 173: Urban Agriculture

Urban Agriculture: Using an agroecological approach for local food production

Instructor: Prof. Lisa Bradshaw

Time: Lecture Tu, Th 9:00 – 10:00 am,  Lab Tu, Th 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Offered in Spring term only



In this research and Community Based Learning (CBL) section of Intro Bio Lab, the class will serve as a mock contract lab for Growing Hope, an Ypsilanti based gardening and urban agriculture non-profit.  Recently they have experienced the emergence of a soil arthropod pest, Symphyla, at their 1.4 acre farm near downtown Ypsilanti.  Students will conduct field experiments testing biological control measures. Data collection at the farm site will include population counts of Symphyla and crop damage assessment, along with laboratory analysis of soil samples to profile the soil microbial and invertebrate communities. They will use the available data to develop hypotheses around factors that impact this pest’s populations and present their results to Growing Hope. Class generated data will contribute to sustainable management techniques on the farm and potentially in home and school gardens and greenhouses in the larger community. Note: Several of the lab meetings will take place at the farm (transportation provided) so students should be prepared to work outdoors.


Some of the skills and techniques learned include:

  • Community-level physiological profiling to identify metabolic fingerprints
  • Identifying local crop varieties, their pests and associated beneficial organisms
  • Doing biological research in the context of the broader social community and local food systems movement.