SAUSI: Sustainable Agriculture in Urban Systems of Indy
Sustainable and local urban agriculture is often touted as being able to restore ecosystem function, including soil health, water quality, and biodiversity. This may be especially important in cases where urban agriculture has replaced abandoned or heavily managed land uses such as conventional agriculture and manicured lawns. Yet, little is known about the extent to which urban agriculture does, in fact, provide these ecosystem benefits and how long it takes for these benefits to be realized.
This project is quantifying carbon and nutrient cycling and microbial community structure and function at four urban farms in Indianapolis to explore how ecosystem function changes through time and how urban agriculture soil health compares to both prior land use and natural ecosystem types. Eventually, we hope to tie farm productivity and profitability to ecosystem services.
Butler Students. We offer for-credit internships during the fall and spring semesters for third and fourth year biology, chemistry, and environmental studies majors.
Professor Sean Berthrong, Department of Biological Sciences
Professor Julia Angstmann, Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability
Spencer Lybrook, Biology '21
Becca Lewis, Chemistry and Biology '18
Nick Bantz, Biology '20
A portion of the data for SAUSI will use data collected in three Butler courses as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) project entitled Cultivating Scientific Literacy and Action through Place: Using a Campus Farm as an Interdisciplinary Learning Hub:
BI230 – Fundamentals: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Instructors: Professors Travis Ryan, Sean Berthrong, & Andrew Stoehr
Module Title: Soil Respiration, Arthropod Biodiversity, and the Analysis of Variance
BI408 – Topics in Biology, Ecosystem Ecology
Instructor: Professor Sean Berthrong
Module title: Bringing Microbes and Carbon Cycling Down to Earth
CH465 – Environmental Chemistry
Instructor: Professor Elizabeth Davis
Module Title: Urban Agriculture and Environmental Health: Characterizing Risks of Soil Contamination
Moskal, B.T. 2016. Soil Health within Indianapolis Urban Gardens. Honors Thesis, Department of Biological Sciences, Butler University.
Moskal, B., Berthrong, S., Angstmann, J. 2016. Indy Soil Health: Are urban soils healthy enough to sustain agriculture? Urban Agriculture and Sustainability in the Northwest Region, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC.